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THE  LIBRARY 

OF 

THE  UNIVERSITY 

OF  CALIFORNIA 

LOS  ANGELES 

GIFT 


From  the   Library  of 

Henry  Goldman,    Ph.D. 

1886-1972 


Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 

in  2007  with  funding  from 

IVIicrosoft  Corporation 


http://www.archive.org/details/eternalcityOOcainiala 


^-^^^/kc 


♦.   •»•. 


Si^^f^\-~^^'  *^ 


THE    ETERNAL   CITY 


Spr,  l^all  Caine's 

jl5oi)el0. 

Crime, 

The  Shado<w  of  a 

A  Son  of  Hagar, 

The  Deemster, 

The  Bondman, 

The  Scapegoat, 

The  Manxman, 

The  Christian, 

The  Eternal  City, 

The 


Eternal  City 


By 

Hall   Caine 


He  looked  for  a  city  which  hath  foun- 
dations whose  builder  and  maker  is  God 


New  York 

D.   Appleton  and  Company 

1 90 1 


Copyright,  1901, 
By  hall  CAINI'l 

All  rights  reserved. 


StacK 
Annex 

HHOH 

CONTENTS 


Prologue 


PAOB 

1 


PART   ONE 
The  Holy  Roman  Empire  ....        9 

PART  TWO 
The  Republic  op  Man        ....      58 

PART   THREE 
Roma 104 

PART   FOUR 
David  Rossi 165 

PART   FIVE 
The  Prime  Minister 252 

PART  SIX 
The  Roman  of  Rome 335 

PART   SEVEN 
The  Pope 426 

PART  EIGHT 
The  King 528 

PART  NINE 
The  People 582 

Epilogue ^^5 

T 


* 


THE  ETERNAL  CITY 


PROLOGUE 


He  was  hardly  fit  to  figure  in  the  great  review  of  life.  A 
boy  of  ten  or  twelve,  in  tattered  clothes,  with  an  accordion 
in  a  case  swung  over  one  shoulder  like  a  sack,  and  under  the 
other  arm  a  wooden  cage  containing  a  grey  squirrel.  It  was 
a  December  night  in  London,  and  the  Southern  lad  had  noth- 
ing to  shelter  his  little  body  from  the  Northern  cold  but  his 
short  velveteen  jacket,  red  waistcoat,  and  knickerbockers.  He 
was  going  home  after  a  long  day  in  Chelsea,  and,  conscious 
of  something  fantastic  in  his  appearance,  and  of  doubtful 
legality  in  his  calling,  he  was  dipping  into  side  streets  in 
order  to  escape  the  laughter  of  the  London  boys  and  the  at- 
tentions of  policemen. 

Coming  to  the  Italian  quarter  in  Soho,  he  stopped  at  the 
door  of  a  shop  to  see  the  time.  It  was  eight  o'clock.  There 
was  an  hour  to  wait  before  he  would  be  allowed  to  go  indoors. 
The  shop  was  a  baker's,  and  the  window  was  full  of  cakes 
and  confectionery.  From  an  iron  grid  on  the  pavement  there 
came  the  warm  breath  of  the  oven  underground,  the  red  glow 
of  the  fire,  and  the  scythe-like  swish  of  the  long  shovels.  The 
boy  blocked  the  squirrel  under  his  armpit,  dived  into  his 
pocket,  and  brought  out  some  copper  coins  and  counted  them. 
There  was  ninepence.  Ninepence  was  the  sum  he  had  to  take 
home  every  night,  and  there  was  not  a  halfpenny  to  spare. 
He  knew  that  perfectly  before  he  began  to  count,  but  his 
appetite  had  tempted  him  to  try  again  if  his  arithmetic  was 
not  at  fault. 

The  air  grew  warmer,  and  it  began  to  snow.  At  first  it 
was  a  fine  sprinkle  that  made  a  snow-mist,  and  adhered 
wherever  it  fell.  The  traffic  speedily  became  less,  and  things 
looked  big  in  the  thick  air.    The  boy  was  wandering  aimlessly 

1 


2  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

through  the  streets,  waiting  for  nine  o'clock.  When  he 
thought  the  hour  was  near,  he  realised  that  he  had  lost  his 
way.  He  screwed  up  his  eyes  to  see  if  he  knew  the  houses 
and  shops  and  signs,  but  everything  seemed  strange. 

The  snow  snowed  on,  and  now  it  fell  in  large,  corkscrew 
flakes.  The  boy  brushed  them  from  his  face,  but  at  the  next 
moment  they  blinded  him  again.  The  few  persons  still  in  the 
streets  loomed  up  on  him  out  of  the  darkness,  and  passed  in  a 
moment  like  gigantic  shadows.  He  tried  to  ask  his  way,  but 
nobody  would  stand  long  enough  to  listen.  One  man  who 
was  putting  up  his  shutters  shouted  some  answer  that  was 
lost  in  the  drumlike  rumble  of  all  voices  in  the  falling  snow. 

The  boy  came  up  to  a  big  porch  with  four  pillars,  and 
stepped  in  to  rest  and  reflect.  The  long  tunnels  of  smoking 
lights  which  had  receded  down  the  streets  were  not  to  be  seen 
from  there,  and  so  he  knew  that  he  was  in  a  square.  It  would 
be  Soho  Square,  but  whether  he  was  on  the  south  or  east  of 
it  he  could  not  tell,  and  consequently  he  was  at  a  loss  to  know 
which  way  to  turn.  A  great  silence  had  fallen  over  every- 
thing, and  only  the  sobbing  nostrils  of  the  cab-horses  seemed 
to  be  audible  in  the  hollow  air. 

He  was  very  cold.  The  snow  had  got  into  his  shoes,  and 
through  the  rents  in  his  cross-gartered  stockings.  His  red 
waistcoat  wanted  buttons,  and  he  could  feel  that  his  shirt  was 
wet.  He  tried  to  shake  the  snow  off  by  stamping,  but  it  clung 
to  his  velveteens.  His  numbed  fingers  could  scarcely  hold 
the  cage,  which  was  also  full  of  snow.  By  the  light  coming 
from  a  fanlight  over  the  door  in  the  porch  he  looked  at  his 
squirrel.  The  little  thing  was  trembling  pitifully  in  its  icy 
bed,  and  he  took  it  out  and  breathed  on  it  to  warm  it,  and 
then  put  it  in  his  bosom.  The  sound  of  a  child's  voice  laugh- 
ing and  singing  came  to  him  from  within  the  house,  muffled 
by  the  walls  and  the  door.  Across  the  white  vapour  cast  out- 
ward from  the  fanlight  he  could  see  nothing  but  the  crystal 
snowflakes  falling  wearily. 

He  grew  dizzy,  and  sat  down  by  one  of  the  pillars.  After 
a  while  a  shiver  passed  along  his  spine,  and  then  he  became 
warm  and  felt  sleepy.  A  church  clock  struck  nine,  and  he 
started  up  with  a  guilty  feeling,  but  his  limbs  were  stiff  and 
he  sank  back  again,  blew  two  or  three  breaths  on  to  the  squirrel 
inside  his  waistcoat,  and  fell  into  a  doze.  As  he  dropped  off 
into  unconsciousness  he  seemed  to  see  the  big,  cheerless  house, 
almost  destitute  of  furniture,  where  he  lived  with  thirty  or 


PROLOGUE  3 

forty  other  boys.  They  trooped  in  with  their  organs  and  ac- 
cordions, counted  out  their  coppers  to  a  man  with  a  clipped 
moustache,  who  was  blowing  whiffs  of  smoke  from  a  long, 
black  cigar,  with  a  straw  through  it,  and  then  sat  down  on 
forms  to  eat  their  plates  of  macaroni  and  cheese.  The  man 
was  not  in  good  temper  to-night,  and  he  was  shouting  at 
some  who  were  coming  in  late  and  at  others  who  were  sharing 
their  supper  with  the  squirrels  that  nestled  in  their  bosoms, 
or  the  monkeys,  in  red  jacket  and  fez,  that  perched  upon 
their  shoulders.  The  boy  was  perfectly  unconscious  by  this 
time,  and  the  child  within  the  house  was  singing  away  as  if 
her  little  breast  was  a  cage  of  song-birds. 

As  the  church  clock  struck  nine  a  class  of  Italian  lads 
in  an  upper  room  in  Old  Compton  Street  was  breaking  up  for 
the  night,  and  the  teacher,  looking  out  of  the  window,  said : 

"  While  we  have  been  telling  the  story  of  the  great  road  to 
our  country  a  snowstorm  has  come,  and  we  shall  have  enough 
to  do  to  find  our  road  home." 

The  lads  laughed  by  way  of  answer,  and  cried :  "  Good- 
night, doctor." 

"  Good-night,  boys,  and  God  bless  you,"  said  the  teacher. 

He  was  an  elderly  man,  with  a  noble  forehead  and  a  long 
beard.  His  face,  a  sad  one,  was  lighted  up  by  a  feeble  smile; 
his  voice  was  soft,  and  his  manner  gentle.  When  the  boys 
were  gone  he  swung  over  his  shoulders  a  black  cloak  with  a 
red  lining,  and  followed  them  into  the  street. 

He  had  not  gone  far  into  the  snowy  haze  before  he  began 
to  realise  that  his  playful  warning  had  not  been  amiss. 

"  Well,  well,"  he  thought,  "  only  a  few  steps,  and  yet  so 
difficult  to  find." 

He  found  the  right  turnings  at  last,  and  coming  to  the 
porch  of  his  house  in  Soho  Square,  he  almost  trod  on  a  little 
black  and  white  object  lying  huddled  at  the  base  of  one  of  the 
pillars. 

"  A  boy,"  he  thought,  "  sleeping  out  on  a  night  like  this ! 
Come,  come,"  he  said  severely,  "  this  is  wrong,"  and  he  shook 
the  little  fellow  to  waken  him. 

The  boy  did  not  answer,  but  he  began  to  mutter  in  a 
sleepy  monotone,  "  Don't  hit  me,  sir.  It  was  the  snow.  I'll 
not  come  home  late  again.  Ninepence,  sir,  and  Jinny  is  so 
cold." 

The  man  paused  a  moment,  then  turned  to  the  door  and 
rang  the  bell  sharply. 


THE  ETERNAL  CITY 


II 


Half-an-hour  later  the  little  musician  was  lying  on  a 
couch  in  the  doctor's  surgery,  a  cheerful  room  with  a  fire  and  a 
soft  lamp  under  a  shade.  He  was  still  unconscious,  but  his  damp 
clothes  had  been  taken  off  and  he  was  wrapped  in  blankets. 
The  doctor  sat  at  the  boy's  head  and  moistened  his  lips  with 
brandy,  while  a  good  woman,  with  a  face  of  a  saint,  knelt  at 
the  end  of  the  couch  and  rubbed  his  little  feet  and  legs. 
After  a  little  while  there  was  a  perceptible  quivering  of  the 
eyelids  and  twitching  of  the  mouth. 

"  He  is  coming  to,  mother,"  said  the  doctor. 

"  At  last,"  said  his  wife. 

"  My  poor  little  coinitryman !  Another  victim  of  the  men 
who  live  on  the  white  slavery  of  our  Italian  boys.  The  scoun- 
drels! They  scour  the  villages  and  country  places,  tempt  the 
parents  with  promises  of  two  pounds,  three  pounds,  four 
pounds  to  part  with  their  boys,  leave  some  lying  indenture  of 
apprenticeship  to  evade  the  law,  bring  the  little  orphaned 
ones  to  England  in  droves  like  cattle,  lodge  them  in  some 
house  more  bare  than  a  barrack,  give  them  an  accordion,  or 
an  organ,  a  monkey,  or  a  squirrel,  or  a  cage  of  white  mice, 
and  then  drive  them  out  into  the  streets  to  beg  or  to  starve." 

"  Poor  little  man  !  " 

"  It  makes  my  throat  throb  to  think  of  their  sufferings, 
and  none  the  less  because  the  scoundrels  who  inflict  them 
are  sons  of  my  own  beloved  Italy." 

"  Wliat  will  God  do  with  such  men  in  the  next  world,  I 
wonder  ? " 

"  He  seems  to  do  nothing  in  this  world,  mother,  and  that's 
the  best  reason  why  we  should  ourselves  do  something.  If 
there's  law  in  England  to  protect  the  innocent  and  punish  the 
guilty,  I  will  bring  some  of  these  scoundrels  to  justice." 

The  boy  moaned  and  opened  his  eyes,  the  big  helpless  eyes 
of  childhood,  black  as  a  sloe,  and  with  long  black  lashes.  He 
looked  at  the  fire,  the  lamp,  the  carpet,  the  blankets,  the 
figures  at  either  end  of  the  couch,  and  with  a  smothered  cry 
he  raised  himself  as  though  thinking  to  escape. 

"  Carino ! "  said  the  doctor,  smoothing  the  boy's  curly 
hair.     "  Lie  still  a  little  longer." 

The  voice  was  like  a  caress,  and  the  boy  sank  back.  But 
presently  he  raised  himself  again,  and  gazed  around  the  room 
as  if  looking  for  something.     The  good  mother  understood 


PROLOGUE  5 

him  perfectly,  and  from  a  chair  on  which  his  clothes  were 
lying  she  picked  up  his  little  grey  squirrel.  It  was  frozen 
stiff  with  the  cold  and  now  quite  dead,  but  he  grasped  it 
tightly  and  kissed  it  passionately,  while  big  teardrops  rolled 
on  to  his  cheeks. 

"  Carino !  "  said  the  doctor  again,  taking  the  dead  squirrel 
away,  and  after  a  while  the  boy  lay  quiet  and  was  comforted. 

"  Italiano— si  ?  " 

"  Si,  Signore." 

"  From  which  province  ?  " 

"  Campagna  Komana,  Signore." 

"  Where  does  he  say  he  comes  from,  doctor  ? " 

"  From  the  country  district  outside  Rome.  And  now  you 
are  living  at  Maccari's  in  Greek  Street — isn't  that  so  ?  " 

"Yes,  sir." 

"  How  long  have  you  been  in  England — one  year,  two 
years  ? " 

"  Two  years  and  a  half,  sir." 

"  And  what  is  your  name,  my  son  ?  " 

"  David  Leone." 

"  A  beautiful  name,  carino !  David  Le-o-ne,"  repeated  the 
doctor,  smoothing  the  curly  hair. 

"  A  beautiful  boy,  too !  What  will  you  do  with  him, 
doctor?" 

"  Keep  him  here  to-night  at  all  events,  and  to-morrow 
we'll  see  if  some  institution  will  not  receive  him.  David 
Leone !  Where  have  I  heard  that  name  before,  I  wonder  ? 
Your  father  is  a  farmer  ?  " 

But  the  boy's  face  had  clouded  like  a  mirror  that  has  been 
breathed  upon,  and  he  made  no  answer. 

"  Isn't  your  father  a  farmer  in  the  Campagna  Romana, 
David?" 

"  I  have  no  father,"  said  the  boy. 

"  Carino  !     But  your  mother  is  alive- — yes  ?  " 

"  I  have  no  mother." 

"  Caro  mio !  Caro  mio !  You  shall  not  go  to  the  institu- 
tion to-morrow,  my  son,"  said  the  doctor,  and  then  the  mirror 
cleared  in  a  moment  as  if  the  sun  had  shone  on  it. 

"  Listen,  father !  " 

Two  little  feet  were  drumming  on  the  floor  above. 

"  Baby  hasn't  gone  to  bed  yet.  She  wouldn't  sleep  until 
she  had  seen  the  boy,  and -I  had  to  promise  she  might  come 
down  presently." 


6  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Let  her  come  down  now,"  said  the  doctor. 

The  boy  was  supping  a  basin  of  broth  when  the  door  burst 
open  with  a  bang,  and  like  a  tiny  cascade  which  leaps  and 
bubbles  in  the  sunlight,  a  little  maid  of  three,  with  violet 
eyes,  golden  complexion,  and  glossy  black  hair,  came  bound- 
ing into  the  room.  She  was  trailing  behind  her  a  train  of 
white  nightdress,  hobbling  on  the  portion  in  front,  and  car- 
rying under  her  arm  a  cat,  which,  being  held  out  by  the  neck, 
was  coiling  its  body  and  kicking  its  legs  like  a  rabbit. 

But  having  entered  with  so  fearless  a  front,  the  little 
Avoman  drew  up  suddenly  at  sight  of  the  boy,  and,  entrench- 
ing herself  behind  the  doctor,  began  to  swing  by  his  coat-tails, 
and  to  take  furtive  glances  at  the  stranger  in  silence  and 
aloofness. 

"  Bless  their  hearts !  what  funny  things  they  are  to  be 
sure,"  said  the  mother.  "  Somebody  seems  to  have  been  tell- 
ing her  she  might  have  a  brother  some  day,  and  when  nurse 
said  to  Susanna,  '  The  doctor  has  brought  a  boy  home  with 
him  to-night,'  nothing  was  so  sure  as  that  this  was  the 
brother  they  had  promised  her,  and  yet  now  .  .  .  Roma, 
you  silly  child,  why  don't  you  come  and  speak  to  the  poor 
boy  who  was  nearly  frozen  to  death  in  the  snow  ?  " 

But  Roma's  privateering  fingers  were  now  deep  in  her 
father's  pocket,  in  search  of  a  specimen  of  the  sugar-stick 
which  seemed  to  live  and  grow  there.  She  found  two  sugar- 
sticks  this  time,  and  sight  of  a  second  suggested  a  bold  adven- 
ture. Sidling  up  toward  the  couch,  but  still  holding  on  to 
the  doctor's  coat-tails,  like  a  craft  that  swings  to  anchor,  she 
tossed  one  of  the  sugar-sticks  on  to  the  floor  at  the  boy's  side. 
The  boy  smiled  and  picked  it  up,  and  this  being  taken  for  suf- 
ficient masculine  response,  the  little  daughter  of  Eve  proceeded 
to  proper  overtures. 

"Oo  a  boy?" 

The  boy  smiled  again  and  assented. 

"  Oo  me  brodder  ?  " 

The  boy's  smile  paled  perceptibly. 

"Oolubme?" 

The  tide  in  the  boy's  eyes  was  rising  rapidly. 

"  Oo  lub  me  eber  and  eber  ?  " 

The  tears  were  gathering  fast,  when  the  doctor,  smoothing 
the  boy's  dark  curls  again,  said : 

"You  have  a  little  sister  of  your  own  far  away  in  the 
Campagna  Romana — yes  ?  " 


PROLOGUE  7 

"  N"o,  sir." 

"  Perhaps  it's  a  brother." 

"  I  ...  I  have  nobody,"  said  the  boy,  and  his  voice 
broke  on  the  last  word  with  a  thud. 

"  You  shall  not  go  to  the  institution  at  all,  David,"  said 
the  doctor  softly. 

"  Doctor  Roselli !  "  exclaimed  his  wife.  But  something  in 
the  doctor's  face  smote  her  instantly  and  she  said  no  more. 

"  Time  for  bed,  baby." 

But  baby  had  many  excuses.  There  were  the  sugar-sticks, 
and  the  pussy,  and  the  boy-brother,  and  finally  her  prayers 
to  say. 

"  Say  them  here,  then,  sweetheart,"  said  her  mother,  and 
with  her  cat  pinned  up  again  under  one  arm  and  the  sugar- 
stick  held  under  the  other,  kneeling  face  to  the  fire,  but 
screwing  her  half  closed  eyes  at  intervals  in  the  direction  of 
the  couch,  the  little  maid  put  her  little  waif-and-stray  hands 
together  and  said : 

"  Our  Fader  oo  art  in  Heben,  alud  be  my  name.  Dy 
kingum  tum.  Dy  will  be  done  on  card  as  it  is  in  Heben. 
Gib  us  dis  day  our  dayey  bread,  and  forgib  us  our  tres- 
passes as  we  forgib  dem  lat  trelspass  ayenst  us.  And  lee  us 
not  into  temstashuns,  but  deliber  us  from  ebil  .  .  .  for  eber 
and  eber.     Amen." 

The  house  in  Soho  Square  was  perfectly  silent  an  hour 
afterward.  In  the  surgery  the  lamp  was  turned  down,  the 
cat  was  winking  and  yawning  at  the  fire,  and  the  doctor  sat 
in  a  chair  in  front  of  the  fading  glow  and  listened  to  the 
measured  breathing  of  the  boy  behind  him.  It  dropped  at 
length,  like  a  pendulum  that  is  about  to  stop,  into  the  noise- 
less beat  of  innocent  sleep,  and  then  the  good  man  got  up  and 
looked  down  at  the  little  head  on  the  pillow. 

Even  with  the  eyes  closed  it  was  a  beautiful  face;  one  of 
the  type  which  great  painters  have  loved  to  paint  for  their 
saints  and  angels — sweet,  soft,  wise,  and  wistful.  And  where 
did  it  come  from?  From  the  Campagna  Romana,  a  scene  of 
poverty,  of  squalor,  of  fever,  and  of  death? 

The  doctor  thought  of  his  own  little  daughter,  whose  life 
had  been  a  long  holiday,  and  then  of  the  boy  whose  days  had 
been  an  unbroken  bondage. 

"  Yet  who  knows  but  in  the  rough  chance  of  life  our  little 
Roma  may  not  some  day  .  .  .  God  forbid !  " 

The  boy  moved  in  his  sleep  and  laughed  the  laugh  of  a 


8  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

dream  that  is  like  the  sound  of  a  breeze  in  soft  summer 
grass,  and  it  broke  the  thread  of  painful  reverie. 

"  Poor  little  man !  he  has  forgotten  all  his  troubles." 

Perhaps  he  was  back  in  his  sunny  Italy  by  this  time, 
among  the  vines  and  the  oranges  and  the  flowers,  running 
barefoot  with  other  children  on  the  dazzling  whiteness  of  the 
roads !  .  .  .  Perhaps  his  mother  in  heaven  was  praying  her 
heart  out  to  the  Blessed  Virgin  to  watch  over  her  fatherless 
darling  cast  adrift  upon  the  world! 

"Oh,  the  cry  of  the  children,  the  cry  of  the  children! 
The  little,  helpless,  innocent  victims  of  the  social  maelstrom. 
All  the  world  over  their  cry  goes  up  to  heaven,  and  woe  to  the 
nation,  or  the  government,  or  the  dynasty  that  will  not  heed 
or  hear  it !  " 

That  thought  was  a  key  which  unlocked  the  lavender- 
closet  of  his  most  solemn  and  sacred  memories.  No  one  in 
the  great,  free  land  of  his  adoption,  not  even  the  saint  who 
was  his  wife,  had  ever  yet  opened  the  door  of  it.  A  palace 
in  Rorne — himself  young,  ardent,  enthusiastic,  burning  with 
love  of  country  and  desire  to  serve  its  cause — his  father  a 
Prince  of  the  Papal  Court,  proud,  imperious,  and  uncom- 
promising— the  Pope  trying  in  vain  to  make  peace  between 
them — expulsion — poverty — obscurity — exile  —  England  —  a 
new  name — a  new  profession- — life  among  the  people — liberty! 
Then  marriage  with  a  good  Englishwoman  almost  as  solitary 
as  himself,  and  last  of  all,  like  the  angel's  breath  on  the  pool 
of  Bethesda,  the  birth  of  their  child,  their  little  Roma — 
Roma,  the  healer  of  his  heart — Roma,  after  the  city  of  his 
soul ! 

The  train  of  his  memories  was  interrupted  by  voices  in  the 
street,  and  he  drew  the  curtain  of  the  window  aside  and 
looked  out.  The  snow  had  ceased  to  fall,  and  the  moon  was 
shining;  the  leafless  trees  were  casting  their  delicate  black 
shadows  on  the  whitened  ground,  and  the  yellow  light  of  a 
lantern  on  the  opposite  angle  of  the  square  showed  where  a 
group  of  lads  were  singing  a  Christmas  carol. 

"While  shepherds  watched  their  flocks  by  night,  all  seated  on 
the  ground, 
The  angel  of  the  Lord  came  down,  and  glory  shone  around." 

Doctor  Roselli  closed  the  curtain,  put  out  the  lamp, 
touched  with  his  lips  the  forehead  of  the  sleeping  boy,  and. 
went  to  bed. 


PAKT  ONE 
THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE 


TWENTY   YEARS  LATER 
I 

It  was  the  last  day  of  the  last  month  of  the  last  year  of 
the  century.  In  a  Bull  proclaiming  a  Jubilee  the  Pope  had 
called  his  faithful  children  to  Rome,  and  they  had  come  from 
all  quarters  of  the  globe.  To  salute  the  coming  century,  and 
to  dedicate  it,  in  pomp  and  solemn  ceremony,  to  the  return  of 
the  world  to  the  Holy  Church,  one  and  universal,  the  people 
gathered  in  the  great  Piazza  of  St.  Peter. 

The  sergeants  of  police  said  that  some  had  passed  the 
night  there.  Through  the  mist  of  early  morning  their  spec- 
tral images  glimmered  in  a  sea  of  shadows.  As  light  breathed 
through  the  haze  you  could  define  first  a  figure  and  then  a  face, 
in  a  waste  of  indistinguishable  shapes.  Through  the  chill 
air  coming  off  the  Campagna  you  could  hear  the  sharp  crackle 
of  carriage  wheels  on  the  Roman  pavement  as  the  people 
came  up  the  side  streets.  The  white  sheets  of  vapour  began 
to  roll  away,  and  silently  out  of  the  east  rose  the  great  drowsy 
disc  of  red.  Then  from  some  unseen  rock  above  a  mighty 
bell  began,  and  it  was  followed  after  a  moment  by  a  grand 
pealing  of  all  the  bells  of  Rome. 

As  day  dawned  the  growing  light  showed  a  prodigious 
circle.  It  was  like  a  mountain  tarn  whose  vast  amplitude  has 
been  swirled  out  of  the  rocks  by  the  wash  of  ages.  On  either 
side  the  smooth  round  walls,  and  in  front  a  gigantic  glacier, 
with  two  peaks  and  a  round  forehead  in  the  sky,  and  giant 
boulders  down  below.  You  thought  you  could  hear  the  waters 
as  they  moved  in  the  mountain  breeze,  and  were  fed  by 
streams  that  flowed  into  the  mighty  basin. 

The  light  came  in  its  leaden  greyness,  and  the  glacier 
2  « 


10  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

was  the  great  Basilica  of  St.  Peter,  the  round  walls  were  the 
embracing  arms  of  the  Colonnade  of  Bernini,  the  two  peaks 
were  the  two  clock  towers,  the  giant  boulders  were  the  statues 
of  apostles  with  drawn  swords,  the  obelisks  with  their  in- 
scriptions and  the  fountains  throwing  up  spray;  and  the 
noise  of  the  waters  was  the  murmur  of  an  immense  mass  of 
people  already  crowded  into  the  square. 

The  sun  shot  its  first  beam  on  to  the  golden  cross  of  the 
Basilica,  and  it  glistened  in  the  sunrise  like  the  topmost 
peaks  at  Chamounix,  and  the  broad  blaze  came  down  the  blue 
dome  and  over  the  white  walls  and  rested  on  the  round  sea 
of  human  faces. 

The  balcony  of  St.  Peter's  was  shaded  by  a  wide  awning, 
and  the  portico  was  adorned  with  red  and  gold  hangings, 
draped  around  a  large  representation  of  the  arms  of  the  Pope. 
At  the  top  of  the  great  steps,  which  were  strewn  with  sand 
and  sprinkled  with  sprigs  of  box,  a  space  was  kept  clear  by  a 
cordon  of  infantry. 

Two  double  lines  of  troops  traversed  the  square  below. 
One  of  them  stretched  in  a  half  circle  from  a  bronze  gate 
under  the  colonnade  on  the  right  to  an  arch  beneath  the  clock 
tower  on  the  left.  This  was  intended  for  the  procession  of 
the  Pope  as  it  came  out  of  the  Vatican  and  passed  into  St. 
Peter's,  and  it  was  kept  clear  like  the  empty  bed  of  a 
dammed-up  stream.  The  other  line  of  troops  crossed  the 
square  diagonally  from  the  street  in  front  of  the  Basilica  to 
the  central  entrance,  and  this  was  like  a  river  that  was  some- 
times rippling,  sometimes  rushing,  but  always  running. 

When  the  clock  struck  seven  the  doors  were  opened,  and 
the  human  tide  began  to  rise  up  the  steps  and  to  flow  into  the 
church.  First  came  the  pilgrims  from  distant  places,  a  mixed 
and  motley  company.  Now  a  band  of  bronzed  creatures,  sul- 
len-eyed and  heavy-featured,  and  clad  in  sheepskins  and 
leather.  Then  a  group  of  bright-eyed  Neapolitan  women  with 
I'ed  handkerchiefs  on  their  heads,  strings  of  coral  around 
their  necks  and  silver  pins  in  their  blue  black  hair.  And 
then  a  troop  of  poor  men  in  red  flannel  cloaks,  or  of  women, 
chiefly  old,  in  black  dresses  and  lace  veils.  With  each  batch 
walked  a  clerical  guide,  sometimes  a  rustic  Monsignor  wearing 
the  broad  violet  waist-band  over  his  black  cassock,  but  gen- 
erally a  simple  priest,  unkempt,  unshaven,  with  shaggy 
beaver  battered  by  the  rain,  and  heavy  shoes  stained  by 
the  soil. 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  H 

Toward  eight  o'clock  came  files  of  men  and  boys,  carrying 
banners  with  inscriptions  in  yellow  and  gold.  One  such  file 
was  a  deputation  of  French  working-men,  come  to  pay  their 
devotion  to  the  Holy  Father  and  proclaim  him  the  friend  of 
democracy  and  the  Workmen's  Pope. 

As  the  clock  struck  nine  the  stream  rising  up  the  steps  to 
the  portico  was  being  traversed  by  gentlemen  in  dress  coats 
and  by  ladies  in  long  black  veils,  wearing  jewels  and  bril- 
liants. Dividing  them,  in  companies  of  eight  and  ten,  came 
the  priests  of  the  future,  the  students  of  the  papal  colleges, 
in  sashes  of  red  and  blue  and  green,  and  in  one  case  cassocks 
of  scarlet,  which  splashed  the  steps  like  a  stream  of  blood. 
Then  came  little  knots  of  nuns,  in  black  hoods  that  hid  their 
downcast  faces;  and  last  of  all,  in  gorgeous  uniforms  of  every 
kind  and  blazing  with  decorations,  the  diplomatic  corps  ac- 
credited to  the  Vatican. 

By  this  time  there  was  an  immense  concourse  within  St. 
Peter's,  yet  the  mass  of  crowded  and  mixed  humanity  was 
still  larger  outside.  The  people  now  covered  the  piazza  round 
and  round  from  side  to  side,  except  where  the  black  and  red 
carabineers  and  the  black  and  blue  police  on  foot  and  on 
horseback  kept  places  clear  in  case  of  a  crush. 

The  vast  mountain  tarn  seemed  to  have  been  casting  up 
its  spray  on  to  its  sides,  for  every  window  and  balcony  round 
about  was  decorated  with  gay  trappings  and  swarming  with 
faces. 

The  Jubilee  was  to  be  a  sacred  one,  but  it  could  not  be 
said  that  this  crowd  conveyed  a  universal  sense  of  solemnity 
and  awe.  There  were  the  girls  who  dance  the  Tarantella  at 
the  hotels,  gleesome  little  maidens  with  figures  just  rounding 
into  sensuous  womanhood;  there  were  the  models  in  short 
skirts  and  bright  stockings  who  wait  for  artists  on  the  Span- 
ish steps,  and  the  girls  of  the  people  with  their  dark  Oriental 
mischievous  eyes.  Then  there  were  monks  in  black,  brown 
and  white,  each  with  his  big,  ungainly  umbrella;  a  priest 
with  the  face  of  an  old  woman,  but  helpless-looking  and  un- 
tidy, because  he  has  no  woman  to  take  care  of  him;  a  smart 
ofiicer  of  the  Italian  army  in  his  blue  cloak  and  with  his 
matronly  wife  beside  him;  a  greasy  seller  of  sherbet  and  yel- 
low beans ;  a  screamer  crying  "  La  Vera  Roma ; "  a  pick- 
pocket with  the  thick  bull-neck  of  the  Trasteverine — the 
Roman  "  cockney  "  from  across  the  Tiber — getting  up  panics 
and  slanting  off  at  sight  of  the  police;  and  the  beggars  with 


12  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

their  various  deformities,  hobbling,  and  shuffling,  and  whin- 
ing :  "  A  penny  for  the  love  of  God !  For  the  blessed  Virgin's 
sake!  For  Christ's  sake,  and  may  God  bless  you  and  the 
Madonna  and  all  the  Saints !  " 

Last  of  all  in  this  mixed  and  motley  assembly  there  was 
the  vast  army  of  foreigners,  the  forestieri,  thick  as  stars  on 
a  full-starred  night,  English,  American,  French,  Russian, 
Spanish,  all  who  regard  Kome  as  an  artistic  play-ground,  and 
come  for  sights— religious  sights  most  of  all.  In  that  wide 
cosmopolis  you  might  hear  every  tongue  of  Europe,  and  every 
tone  of  English,  from  the  coo  of  the  pretty  pink-and-white 
English  miss  in  her  sailor  hat  to  the  bugle  note  of  the  bright 
American  girl  with  her  red  Baedeker  and  her  short  skirt. 

All  were  there,  all  languages,  all  peoples,  all  ages,  the  East 
and  the  West,  the  past  and  the  present,  called  back  to  the 
Eternal  City  that  was  born  of  the  loins  of  the  world.  Nations 
sink  and  rise,  but  humanity  is  immortal,  and  that  spectacle 
of  beauty  and  majesty  under  the  glorious  light  of  heaven — 
St.  Peter's,  the  people,  Rome,  on  one  spot  at  one  moment — 
seemed  like  a  flashing  glance  of  the  face  of  God. 


n 

Boys  and  women  were  climbing  up  every  possible  eleva- 
tion, and  a  bright-faced  girl  who  had  conquered  a  high  place 
on  the  base  of  the  obelisk  was  chattering  down  at  a  group  of 
her  friends  who  were  listening  to  their  cicerone. 

"  Yes,  that  is  the  Vatican,"  said  the  guide,  pointing  to  a 
square  building  at  the  back  of  the  colonnade,  "  and  the  apart- 
ments of  the  Pope  are  those  on  the  third  floor,  just  on  the 
level  of  the  Loggia  of  Raphael.  The  Cardinal  Secretary  of 
State  used  to  live  in  the  rooms  below,  opening  on  the  grand 
staircase  that  leads  from  the  Court  of  Damascus.  There's 
a  private  way  up  to  the  Pope's  apartment,  and  a  secret  passage 
to  the  Castle  of  St.  Angelo." 

"  Say,  has  the  Pope  got  that  secret  passage  still  ? " 

"No,  sir.  When  the  Castle  went  over  to  the  King  the 
connection  with  the  Vatican  was  cut  off.  Ah,  everything  is 
changed  since  those  days!  The  Pope  used  to  go  to  St. 
Peter's  surrounded  by  his  Cardinals  and  Bishops,  to  the  roll 
of  drums  and  the  roar  of  cannon.  All  that  is  over  now.  The 
present  Pope  is  trying  to  revive  the  old  condition  seemingly. 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  13 

but  what  can  he  do?  Even  the  Bull  proclaiming  the  Jubilee 
laments  the  loss  of  the  temporal  power,  which  would  have  per- 
mitted him  to  renew  the  enchantments  of  the  Holy  Qity." 

"  Tell  him  it's  just  lovely  as  it  is,"  said  the  girl  on  the 
obelisk,  "  and  when  the  illuminations  begin  .  .  ." 

"  Say,  friend,"  said  her  parent  again,  "  I'll  get  you  to  give 
me  the  inwardness  of  this  business.  Kome  belonged  to  the 
Pope — yes  ?  Then  the  Italians  came  in  and  took  -it  and  made 
it  the  capital  of  Italy — so  ?  " 

"  Just  so,  and  ever  since  then  the  Holy  Father  has  been  a 
prisoner  in  the  Vatican,  going  into  it  as  a  cardinal  and  com- 
ing out  of  it  as  a  corpse,  and  to-day  will  be  the  first  time  a 
Pope  has  set  foot  in  the  streets  of  Rome !  " 

"  My !     And  shall  we  see  him  in  his  prison  clothes  ?  " 

"  Lilian  Martha !  Don't  you  know  enough  for  that  ?  Per- 
haps you  expect  to  see  his  chains  and  a  straw  of  his  bed 
in  the  cell?  The  Pope  is  a  king  and  has  a  court — that's  the 
way  I  am  figuring  it." 

"  True,  the  Pope  is  a  sovereign  still,  and  he  is  surrounded 
by  his  ofiicers  of  state — Cardinal  Secretary,  Majordomo, 
Master  of  Ceremonies,  Steward,  Chief  of  Police,  Swiss 
Guards,  Noble  Guard  and  Palatine  Guard,  as  v>'ell  as  the 
Papal  Guard  who  live  in  the  garden  and  patrol  the  precincts 
night  and  day.  He  receives,  too,  the  same  as  ever — Cardinal 
Secretary  every  morning  at  ten — Majordomo  first  and  third 
Fridays — Master  of  Ceremonies  once  a  week — there's  a  list 
of  them  all  on  the  walls  of  the  Papal  ante-camera,  with  the 
days  and  hours  of  their  audiences." 

"  Then  where  the  nation  .  .  .  prisoner,  you  say  ?  " 

"  Prisoner  indeed !  If ot  even  able  to  look  out  of  his 
windows  on  to  this  piazza  on  the  20th  of  September  without 
the  risk  of  insult  and  outrage — and  Heaven  knows  what  will 
happen  when  he  ventures  out  to-day !  " 

"  Well !  this  goes  clear  ahead  of  me !  " 

Beyond  the  outer  cordon  of  troops  many  carriages  were 
drawn  up  in  positions  likely  to  be  favourable  for  a  view  of 
the  procession.  In  one  of  these  sat  a  Frenchman  in  a  coat 
covered  with  medals,  a  florid,  fiery-eyed  old  soldier  with 
bristling  white  hair.  Standing  by  his  carriage  door  was  a 
typical  young  Roman,  fashionable,  faultlessly  dressed,  pallid, 
with  strong  lower  jaw,  dark  watchful  eyes,  twirled-up  mous- 
tache and  cropped  black  mane. 

"  Ah,  yes,"  said  the  old  Frenchman.     "  Much  water  has 


14  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

run  under  the  bridge  since  then,  sir.  Liberty?  License  you 
mean,  sir.  The  law  lets  people  do  as  they  please  these  days. 
Only  itself  to  blame  if  they  petition  and  palaver  and  run 
away  with  everything.  Changed  since  I  was  here?  Rome? 
You're  right,  sir.  Wasn't  in  the  hands  of  the  invading  army 
then,  and  its  revenues  hadn't  gone  into  their  corrupt  coffers. 
'  When  Kome  falls,  falls  the  world ; '  but  it  can  alter  for  all 
that,  and  even  this  square  has  seen  its  transformations. 
Holy  Office  stands  where  it  did,  the  yellow  building  behind 
there,  but  this  palace,  for  instance — this  one  with  the  people 
in  the  balcony  .  .  ." 

The  Frenchman  pointed  to  the  travertine  walls  of  a 
prison-like  house  on  the  farther  side  of  the  piazza.  The  lower 
windows  were  barred  across  like  so  many  iron  cages,  and  at 
the  entrance  to  a  courtyard,  which  gave  a  glimpse  of  green 
within,  stood  a  door-porter  in  red  and  brown  livery  and 
cocked  hat,  holding  a  staff  tipped  with  silver  and  tasselled 
with  gold. 

"  Do  you  know  whose  palace  that  is  ? " 

"  Baron  Bonelli's,  President  of  the  Council  and  Minister 
of  the  Interior." 

"  Precisely !  But  do  you  know  whose  palace  it  used 
to  be?" 

"  Belonged  to  the  English  Wolsey,  didn't  it,  in  the  days 
when  he  wanted  the  Papacy  ? " 

"  Belonged  in  my  time  to  the  father  of  the  Pope,  sir — old 
Baron  Leone !  " 

"  Leone !     That's  the  family  name  of  the  Pope,  isn't  it  ?  " 

"  Yes,  sir,  and  the  old  Baron  was  a  banker  and  a  cripple. 
I  saw  him  once  at  this  very  door.  He  was  getting  out  of  his 
carriage  swathed  in  furs,  and  a  dozen  stalwart  servants  were 
ducking  and  dipping  at  his  feet.  '  Signor  Baron ! '  '  Will 
your  Excellency  be  pleased  to  walk  ? '  One  foot  in  the  grave, 
and  all  his  hopes  centred  in  his  son.  '  My  son,'  he  used  to 
say,  'will  be  the  richest  nian  in  Rome,  some  day;  richer  than 
all  their  Roman  princes,  and  it  will  be  his  own  fault  if  he 
doesn't  make  himself  Pope. '  " 

"  He  has,  apparently." 

"  Xot  that  way,  though.  When  his  father  died,  he  sold 
up  everything,  and  having  no  relations  looking  to  him,  he 
gave  away  every  penny  to  the  poor.  That's  how  the  old 
banker's  palace  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Prime  Minister  of 
Italy — an  infidel,  an  Antichrist." 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  15 

"  So  the  Pope  is  a  good  man,  is  he  ?  " 

"  Good  man,  sir  ?  He's  not  a  man  at  all,  he's  an  angel ! 
Only  two  aims  in  life — the  glory  of  the  Church  and  the  wel- 
fare of  the  rising  generation.  Gave  away  half  his  inheritance 
founding  homes  all  over  the  world  for  poor  boys.  Boys — 
that's  the  Pope's  tender  point,  sir!  Tell  him  anything  tender 
about  a  boy  and  he  breaks  up  like  an  old  swordcut." 

The  eyes  of  the  young  Roman  were  straying  away,  from 
the  Frenchman  to  a  rather  shabby  single-horse  hackney  car- 
riage which  had  just  come  into  the  square  and  taken  up  its 
position  in  the  shadow  of  the  grim  old  palace.  It  had  one 
occupant  only — a  man  in  a  soft  black  hat.  He  was  quite 
without  a  sign  of  a  decoration,  but  his  arrival  had  created  a 
general  commotion,  and  all  faces  were  turning  toward  him. 

"  Listen !  "  said  the  old  soldier,  "  I'll  tell  you  something, 
and  then  you'll  know  Pius  the  Tenth,  and  if  people  say  dif- 
ferent you  can  swear  they  lie.  My  name  is  De  Raymond,  and 
I  was  a  captain  in  the  Papal  Zouaves.  Yes,  sir,  wounded  the 
day  the  Italians  came  into  Rome,  and  the  wound  has  never 
healed.  My  good  wife  was  at  home  at  Versailles,  when  the 
telegram  reached  her  that  I  was  down  and  Rome  was  lost; 
she  went  to  bed,  and  that  same  day  our  boy  was  born.  It 
killed  her,  God  rest  her  soul,  but  before  she  died  she  called 
the  priest  and  the  child  was  baptized." 

The  young  Roman  was  scarcely  listening.  His  eyes  were 
on  the  man  in  the  soft  black  hat  and  he  was  hearing  the  name 
"  David  Rossi !  "  which  rippled  over  the  surface  of  the  crowd 
like  the  first  morning  breeze  over  a  mere. 

"  Well,  sir,  it  was  twenty  years  afterward  when  I  wanted 
my  son  to  be  made  one  of  the  Pope's  N^oble  Guard.  Only  a 
hundred  francs  a  month,  but  two  of  them  are  on  duty  with 
the  Holy  Father  always.  Just  three  vacancies,  sir,  and  I  ap- 
plied a  day  too  late.  '  Let  me  see  the  Holy  Father  himself,'  I 
said.  *  ISTo  use,'  said  the  Under-Secretary;  'the  nominations 
are  made  and  the  Holy  Father  will  be  vexed.'  '  Only  let  me 
see  him,'  I  said,  and  he  did.  He  was  right,  though — the  Holy 
Father  was  very  angry.  '  Monsignor,'  he  said,  '  why  didn't  you 
tell  him  the  nominations  were  made ? '  'I  did,  your  Holiness, 
but  he  insisted  on  seeing  you  himself,'  and  then  the  Pope  grew 
pale  and  rose  to  dismiss  me.  '  Wait  a  minute.  Holy  Father,' 
I  said.  '  Do  you  remember  the  story  of  Phinehas's  wife  in  the 
Book  of  Samuel  ? '  '  What  of  it  ? '  '  She  called  her  son  Icha- 
bod,  because  his  father  was  killed  in  battle,  and  because  the 


16  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

same  day  the  ark  of  God  was  taken.'  *  Well  ? '  *  Do  you  remem- 
ber what  day  this  is,  Holy  Father  ?  It  is  the  anniversary  of  the 
day  the  Italians  came  in  at  Porta  Pia  and  the  Pope  lost  the 
Holy  City.  I  was  wounded  that  day,  and  the  wound  has  never 
healed ;  and  my  boy  was  born  that  day,  too,  and  his  mother,  who 
is  dead,  called  him  Ichabod,  because  the  ark  of  God  was  taken 
and  the  glory  was  departed  from  Israel.'  " 

"  And  what  did  the  Pope  say  ?  " 

"  '  Monsignor,'  "  he  said,  "  '  strike  out  any  name  you  please, 
and  write  Ichabod  de  Raymond.' " 

The  fiery  old  Frenchman's  throat  was  thick  and  his  eyes 
were  wet,  but  the  young  Roman  said  in  a  dry  voice : 

"  Do  you  happen  to  know  who  that  is  ?  That  man  in  the 
cab  under  the  balcony  full  of  ladies  ?    Can  it  be  David  Rossi  ?  " 

"  David  Rossi,  the  anarchist  ?  " 

"  Some  people  call  him  so.    Do  you  know  him  ?  " 

"  No — not  at  all — certainly  not — I  only  know  his  writings 
in  the  newspapers." 

"  Ah,  yes,  of  course !  His  articles  in  the  Sunrise  are  quoted 
all  over  Europe,  and  he  must  be  as  well  known  in  Paris  as  in 
Rome." 

"  I  know  nothing  about  the  man  except  that  he  is  an  enemy 
of  his  Holiness." 

"  He  intends  to  present  a  petition  to  the  Pope  this  morning, 
nevertheless." 

"  Impossible !  " 

"  Haven't  you  heard  of  it  ?  These  are  his  followers  with  the 
banners  and  badges." 

He  pointed  to  the  line  of  working-men,  who  had  ranged 
themselves  about  the  cab,  with  banners  inscribed  variously, 
"  Garibaldi  Club,"  "  Mazzini  Club,"  "  Republican  Federation," 
and  "  Republic  of  Man." 

"  Your  friend  Antichrist,"  tipping  a  finger  over  his  shoul- 
der in  the  dii'ection  of  the  palace,  "  has  been  taxing  bread  to 
build  more  battleships,  and  Rossi  has  risen  against  him.  '  Tax 
anything  else  you  please,'  he  says,  '  but  don't  tax  what  tlie  peo- 
ple live  upon.  It's  wrong  in  principle,  tyrannical  in  practice, 
and  there's  no  protest  but  the  knife.' " 

"  Humph !  They  look  as  if  there  might  be  knives  enough 
lurking  in  their  hip  pockets." 

"  So  failing  in  the  press,  in  Parliament,  and  at  the  Quirinal, 
he  is  coming  to  the  Pope  to  pray  of  him  to  let  the  Church  play 
its  old  part  of  intermediary  between  the  poor  and  the  oppressed 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  17 

— in  short,  to  protest  against  the  militarism  that  is  going  on  in 
Europe,  and  thus  stay  a  worse  plague  than  has  eaten  into  the 
vitals  of  humanity  since  St.  Michael  sheathed  his  sword  over 
old  St.  Angelo,  you  know." 

"  Preposterous !  " 

"So?" 

"  To  whom  is  the  Pope  to  protest  ?  To  the  King  of  Italy 
who  robbed  him  of  his  Holy  City  ?  Pretty  thing  to  go  down  on 
your  knees  to  the  brigand  who  has  stripped  you !  And  at  whose 
bidding  is  he  to  protest?  At  the  bidding  of  his  bitterest 
enemy  ?    Pshaw !  " 

"  You  persist  that  David  Rossi  is  an  enemy  of  the  Pope  ?  " 

"  The  deadliest  enemy  the  Pope  has  in  the  world." 


in 

The  subject  of  the  Frenchman's  denunciation  looked  harm- 
less enough  as  he  sat  in  his  hackney  carriage  under  the  shadow 
of  old  Baron  Leone's  gloomy  palace.  A  first  glance  showed  a 
man  of  thirty-odd  years,  tall,  slightly  built,  inclined  to  stoop, 
with  a  long,  clean-shaven  face,  large  dark  eyes  and  dark  hair 
which  covered  the  head  in  short  curls  of  almost  African  pro- 
fusion. But  a  second  glance  revealed  all  the  characteristics 
that  give  the  hand-to-hand  touch  with  the  common  people, 
without  which  no  man  can  hope  to  lead  a  great  movement. 

There  was  imagination  and  a  latent  sadness  in  the  eyes, 
which  seemed  usually  to  be  looking  at  something  beyond  this 
life;  but  there  was  power  also  in  their  dark  lashes  when  they 
fell  on  things  that  were  near.  There  was  tenderness  and  sen- 
timent in  the  mobile  mouth,  but  firmness  and  decision  as  well ; 
and  the  whole  expression  of  the  dark  brown  face,  which  was 
subdued,  a  little  jaded,  very  kindly  and  hviman,  and  with  a 
tired  smile  of  much  sweetness,  was  that  of  a  man  with  great 
and  consuming  heart,  in  whom  sympathy  with  humanity  must 
be  a  fiery  furnace  and  hope  of  its  redemption  a  burning  bush. 

From  the  moment  of  David  Rossi's  arrival  there  was  a 
tingling  movement  in  the  air,  and  from  time  to  time  people 
approached  and  spoke  to  him,  when  the  tired  smile  struggled 
through  the  jaded  face  and  then  slowly  died  away.  After  a 
while,  as  if  to  subdue  the  sense  of  personal  observation,  he  took 
a  pen  and  oblong  notepaper  and  began  to  write  on  his  knees. 

Meantime  the  quick-eyed,   facile  crowd   around  him,  the 


18  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

brilliant,  wondrous,  patient  Latin  race — big  children  such  as 
Shakespeare  loved — beguiled  the  tedium  of  waiting  with  good- 
humoured  chaff.  One  great  creature  with  a  shaggy  mane  and  a 
sanguinary  voice  came  up,  bottle  in  hand,  saluted  the  downcast 
head  with  a  mixture  of  deference  and  familiarity,  then  climbed 
to  the  box-seat  beside  the  driver,  and  in  deepest  bass  began  the 
rarest  mimicry.  lie  was  a  true  son  of  the  people,  and  under  an 
appearance  of  ferocity  he  hid  the  heart  of  a  child.  To  look  at 
him  you  could  hardly  help  laughing,  and  the  laughter  of  the 
crowd  at  his  daring  dashes  showed  that  he  was  the  privileged 
pet  of  everybody.  Only  at  intervals  the  downcast  head  was 
raised  from  its  writing,  and  a  quiet  voice  of  warning  said : 

"  Bruno !  " 

Then  the  shaggy  head  on  the  box-seat  slewed  round  and 
bobbed  downward  with  an  apologetic  gesture,  and  ten  seconds 
afterwards  plunged  into  wilder  excesses. 

"  Pshaw !  "  mopping  with  one  hand  his  forehead  under  his 
tipped-up  billicock,  and  holding  the  bottle  with  the  other. 
"  It's  hot !  Dog  of  a  Government,  it's  hot,  I  say !  Have  a  drink, 
brother?  What's  it  saying  in  the  spelling-book — when  one 
poor  man  helps  another  poor  man  God  laughs.  Good  for  pel- 
lagra now  the  Government  has  taxed  the  salt.  Mr.  Carabineer, 
will  you  do  me  the  pleasure  ? "  offering  the  bottle  to  a  military 
policeman.  "  No  ?  Of  course  not !  My  mistake,  sir ;  forgot 
old  Vampire  was  looking  at  you,"  indicating  with  a  lurch 
of  the  thumb  over  his  shoulder  the  palace  of  the  Prime 
Minister  behind  him.  "  '  Another  anarchist  plot !  Attempt 
to  murder  a  policeman ! '  Never  mind !  here's  to  the  exports 
of  Italy,  brother;  and  may  the  Government  be  the  first  of 
them." 

"  Bruno ! " 

"  Excuse  me,  sir ;  the  tongue  breaks  no  bones,  sir !  All 
Governments  are  bad,  and  the  worst  Government  is  the  best. 
Look  at  those  ladies  in  the  balcony  now.  They're  thinking  of 
nothing  but  their  pretty  hats,  bless  them.  There's  a  dear  little 
jewel  with  a  star  in  it;  put  it  up  at  auction  and  it  would  fetch 
a  king's  ransom.  My  wife  hasn't  got  one  much  better  than 
that,  and  my  old  mother  is  going  about  in  her  red  cotton  hand- 
kerchief. Well,  well,  the  rich  ye  have  always  with  ye.  But 
the  parts  are  to  be  reversed  in  the  next  world — that's  what 
Giuseppe's  donkey  says  when  they  give  him  the  stick." 

"  Yet  you  thought  you  had  got  the  millennium  when  you 
got  the  Statute,"  said  a  thick  voice  from  the  crowd. 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  19 

"  So  we  did,  sonny,  but  we  were  like  the  Dutchman's  dog. 
*  Schneider,'  said  the  Dutchman,  '  you  are  free.'  *  But  where 
can  I  go  ? '  said  Schneider.  '  You  are  free,'  said  the  Dutchman. 
'  But  what  can  I  eat  ? '  '  You  are  free,  I  tell  you.'  Next  day 
Schneider  was  found  dead  in  a  ditch.  '  He  can't  blame  me ;  I 
gave  him  his  liberty,  didn't  I  ? '  said  the  Dutchman." 

"  You  ought  to  be  ashamed  of  yourself — talking  like  that  of 
your  king  and  country,"  said  another  choking  voice. 

"  Hello !  It's  Signor  Paul  Pry,  the  King's  chief  ostler.  He's 
got  three  hundred  horses  under  him,  and  they  live  in  clover. 
Where  he  is  well  off,  there's  his  country  ?  Don't  go  yet,  Uncle 
Paul!  How's  your  old  brother,  who  sleeps  in  the  caves,  and 
lives  on  porridge  and  polenta  ?  " 

The  great  clock  of  St.  Peter's  struck  ten  over  the  peals  of 
laughter. 

"  N'ot  long  now !  The  Pope  is  as  punctual  as  the  stars. 
Expect  him  at  ten  and  he  is  never  later  than  half-past  one. 
Look  at  that  old  clock  winking !  Been  winking  up  there 
for  three  hundred  years.  Seen  something  in  that  time,  eh, 
brothers  ?  Has  always  the  same  face,  though,  whether  it  keeps 
time  for  Boniface  or  Pius — the  old  sinner  or  the  old  saint — 
and  goes  on  wagging  its  tail  whatever  they're  doing  down 
below." 

"  You  are  only  a  priest-eater,  and  you  ought  to  be  put  down 
— you  and  all  your  kidney — and  you  would,  too,  if  the  Pope 
came  into  his  own." 

"  Hello !  Who's  it  now  ?  Mr.  Pulcinello,  the  Pope's  barber ! 
Gets  eighty  francs  a  month  for  coming  from  the  Condotti  every 
morning,  and  shaves  the  Holy  Father  free." 

"  If  it  wasn't  for  the  Pope  you  would  all  be  worse  off,  and 
grass  would  grow  in  the  streets  of  Rome." 

"  Good  change  too.    Only  weeds  there  now,  sonny." 

"  Bruno !  " 

A  feeble  old  man  was  at  that  moment  crushing  his  way  up 
to  the  cab.  Seeing  him  approach,  David  Rossi  rose  and  held 
out  his  hand.    The  old  man  took  it,  but  did  not  speak. 

"  Did  you  wish  to  speak  to  me,  father  ?  " 

"  I  can't  yet,"  said  the  old  man,  and  his  voice  shook  and  his 
eyes  were  moist. 

David  Rossi  stepped  out  of  the  cab,  and  with  gentle  force, 
against  many  protests,  put  the  old  man  in  his  place. 

"  I  come  from  Carrara,  sir,  and  when  I  go  home  and  tell 
them  I've  seen  David  Rossi,  and  spoken  to  him,  they  won't 


20  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

believe  me.  '  He  sees  the  future  clear,'  they  say,  *  as  an  al- 
manack made  by  God.' " 

Just  then  there  was  a  commotion  in  the  crowd,  an  im- 
perious voice  cried,  "  Clear  out,"  and  the  next  instant  David 
Rossi,  who  was  standing  by  the  step  of  his  cab,  was  all  but  run 
down  by  a  magnificent  equipage  with  two  high-stepping  horses 
and  a  fat  English  coachman  in  livery  of  scarlet  and  gold. 

His  dark  face  darkened  for  a  moment  with  some  powerful 
emotion,  then  resumed  its  kindly  aspect,  and  he  turned  back  to 
the  old  man  without  looking  at  the  occupant  of  the  carriage. 

It  was  a  lady.  She  was  tall,  with  a  bold  sweep  of  fulness  in 
figure,  which  was  on  a  large  scale  of  beauty.  Her  hair,  which 
was  abundant  and  worn  full  over  the  forehead,  was  raven  black 
and  glossy,  and  it  threw  off  the  sunshine  that  fell  on  her  face. 
Her  complexion  had  a  golden  tint,  and  her  eyes,  which  were 
violet,  had  a  slight  recklessness  of  expression.  Her  carriage 
drew  up  at  the  entrance  of  the  palace,  and  the  porter,  with  the 
silver-headed  staif,  came  running  and  bowing  to  receive  her. 
She  rose  to  her  feet  with  a  consciousness  of  many  eyes  upon 
her,  and  with  an  unabashed  glance  she  looked  around  on  the 
crowd. 

There  was  a  sulky  silence  among  the  people,  almost  a  sense 
of  antagonism,  and  if  anybody  had  cheei'ed,  there  might  have 
been  a  counter  demonstration.  At  the  same  time,  there  was  a 
certain  daring  in  that  marked  brow  and  steadfast  smile  which 
seemed  to  say  that  if  anybody  had  hissed  she  would  have  stood 
her  ground. 

ITot  the  type  that  painters  paint  for  their  ideal  of  sinless 
and  stainless  women,  not  the  Madonna,  biit  a  superb  being  in 
that  first  full  bloom  of  womanhood  which  is  the  most  glorious 
creation  of  God. 

She  lifted  from  the  blue  silk  cushions  of  the  carriage  a  half- 
clipped  black  poodle  with  a  bow  of  blue  ribbon  on  its  forehead, 
tucked  it  under  her  arm,  stepped  down  to  the  street,  and  passed 
into  the  courtyard,  leaving  an  odour  of  ottar  of  roses  behind 
her. 

Only  then  did  the  people  speak. 

"  Donna  Eoma !  " 

The  name  seemed  to  pass  over  the  crowd  in  a  breathless 
whisper,  soundless,  supernatural,  like  the  flight  of  a  bat  in  the 
dark. 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  21 

IV 

The  Baron  had  invited  certain  of  his  friends  to  witness  the 
Pope's  procession  from  the  windows  and  balconies  of  his  palace 
overlooking  the  piazza,  and  they  had  begun  to  arrive  as  early  as 
half-past  nine.  The  first  to  come  were  the  American  Ambas- 
sador, General  Potter,  an  elderly  soldier,  with  a  fluent  tongue, 
but  a  stiff  lower  jaw,  and  Mrs.  Potter,  a  stout  lady  with  familiar 
manners.  Immediately  behind  them  came  the  English  Am- 
bassador, Sir  Evelyn  Wise,  with  Lady  Wise,  younger,  smarter, 
more  reserved,  with  the  indescribable  air  that  belongs  to  the 
diplomatic  service. 

In  the  green  courtyard  they  were  received  by  the  porter  in 
the  cocked  hat,  on  the  dark  stone  staircase  by  lackeys  in  knee- 
breeches  and  yellow  stockings,  in  the  outer  hall,  intended  for 
coats  and  hats,  by  more  lackeys  in  powdered  wigs,  and  in  the 
first  reception-room,  gorgeously  decorated  in  the  yellow  and 
gold  of  the  middle  ages,  by  Felice,  in  a  dress  coat,  the  Baron's 
solemn  personal  servant,  who  said,  in  sepulchral  tones : 

"  The  Baron's  excuses.  Excellency !  Engaged  in  the  Coun- 
cil-room with  some  of  the  Ministers,  but  expects  to  be  out  pres- 
ently.   Sit  in  the  Loggia,  Excellency  ? " 

"  So  our  host  is  holding  a  Cabinet  Council,  General  ?  "  said 
the  English  Ambassador. 

"  A  sort  of  scratch  council,  seemingly.  Something  that 
concerns  the  day's  doings,  I  guess,  and  is  urgent  and  important. 
You  know  him,  of  course.  Lady  Wise  ?  " 

The  wife  of  the  English  Ambassador  knew  the  Baron  very 
slightly.  Her  husband  was  newly  accredited  to  the  Quirinal, 
and  everything  in  Rome  was  new  to  them. 

"  A  great  man.  General,  if  half  one  hears  about  him  is 
true." 

"Great?"  said  the  American.  "Yes,  and  no.  Sir  Evelyn, 
according  as  you  regard  him.  In  the  opinion  of  some  of  his 
followers  the  Baron  Bonelli  is  the  greatest  man  in  the  country 
— greater  than  the  King  himself — and  a  statesman  too  big  for 
Italy.  One  of  those  commanding  personages  who  carry  every- 
thing before  them,  so  that  when  they  speak  even  monarchs  are 
bound  to  obey.  Certainly  a  man  of  great  talents,  indomitable 
pride,  immense  courage,  and  enormous  wealth.  Has  the  advan- 
tage of  noble  birth,  too,  and  antiquity  of  race.  The  idol  of  the 
army  as  well,  and  by  the  power  and  prestige  that  gives  him  he 
seems  to  rule  Parliament  and  even  the  King.    Indeed  the  King 


22  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

is  said  to  have  professed  willingness  to  see  him  made  Dictator, 
and  Parliament  seems  ready  to  proclaim  him  Minister  for  life. 
That's  one  view  of  his  picture.  Sir  Evelyn." 

"  And  the  other  view  ?  " 

General  Potter  glanced  in  the  direction  of  a  door  hung  with 
curtains,  from  which  there  came  at  intervals  the  deadened 
drumming  of  voices,  and  then  he  said: 

"  A  man  of  implacable  temper  and  imperious  soul,  the  in- 
carnation of  Caesarism  and  every  pagan  ideal  of  government. 
A  Minister  who  is  the  head  rather  than  the  hand  of  the  King, 
and  owes  his  favour  with  his  sovereign  to  the  accident  that  the 
King  is  weak  and  superstitious,  and  almost  afraid  to  live  in  the 
Quirinal  because  it  was  the  house  of  the  priests,  while  he  is 
strong  and  sceptical,  and  would  sleep  soundly  in  the  chair  of 
St.  Peter  itself.  Like  Napoleon,  a  man  with  a  deep  contempt 
for  public  opinion,  for  representative  government  and  the 
rights  of  man,  and,  like  Voltaire,  an  infidel  of  hard  and  cynical 
spirit  and  an  open  enemy  of  the  Church." 

"  In  short,  according  to  his  enemies,  a  ferocious  tyrant  ?  " 

"  You've  figured  it  up.  Sir  Evelyn,"  said  the  American. 
"  The  people  don't  know  what  they  want,  and  are  at  the  mercy 
of  the  biggest  liar  that  comes  along.  The  only  value  of  Parlia- 
ments is  to  criticise  the  acts  originated  by  those  who  are  ahead 
of  them !  The  King  is  the  symbol  of  unity  and  the  ark  of 
salvation,  and  what  every  country  requires  is  a  central  power, 
a  strong  monarchy,  which  has  no  interest  but  the  interest 
of  the  whole.  The  King,  the  King,  always  the  King,  except 
when  it's  the  army,  the  army,  the  army !  " 

"  A  champion  of  militarism,  of  course  ?  " 

"  Militarism  is  his  mania,  and  his  ideal  is  to  make  Italy, 
whether  alone  or  by  alliance,  once  more  master  of  the  world  by 
force  of  arms ;  or,  if  that  is  impossible,  to  make  Rome  in  its 
resurrection  the  diplomatic  centre  of  Europe." 

"  And  the  people  ?  " 

"  They  hate  him,  of  course,  for  the  heavy  burden  of  taxation 
with  which  he  is  destroying  the  nation  in  his  attempt  to  build 
it  up." 

"  And  the  clergy,  and  the  Court,  and  the  aristocracy  ? " 

"  The  clergy  fear  him,  the  Court  detests  him,  and  the 
Roman  aristocracy  are  rancorously  hostile  to  him." 

"  Yet  he  rviles  them  all,  nevertheless  ?  " 

"  Yes,  sir,  with  a  rod  of  iron — people.  Court,  princes.  Parlia- 
ment, King  as  well — and  seems  to  have  only  one  unsatisfied 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  23 

desire,  to  break  up  the  last  remaining  rights  of  the  Vatican 
and  rule  the  old  Pope  himself." 

The  ladies  laughed.  "  And  yet  he  asks  us  to  sit  in  his 
balcony  and  look  at  the  old  Pope's  procession !  " 

"  Perhaps  because  he  intends  it  shall  be  the  last  we  shall 
ever  see." 

"  The  Princess  Bellini  and  Don  Camillo  Murelli,"  said 
Felice's  sepulchral  voice  from  the  door. 

An  elderly  aristocratic  beauty  wearing  nodding  -white 
plumes,  a  little,  soft,  blonde  dahlia  of  a  woman,  slightly  over- 
blown, came  in  with  a  pallid  young  Roman  noble  dressed  in  the 
English  fashion,  in  a  check  tweed  suit,  having  the  bottom  of 
his  trousers  turned  up  and  an  eyeglass  screwed  into  one  eye. 

"  You  come  to  church,  Don  Camillo  ?  " 

"  Heard  it  was  a  service  which  happened  only  once  in  a 
hundred  years,  dear  General,  and  thought  it  mightn't  be  con- 
venient to  come  next  time,"  said  the  young  Roman. 

"  And  you.  Princess !  Come  now,  confess,  is  it  the  perfume 
of  the  incense  which  brings  you  to  the  Pope's  procession,  or 
the  perfume  of  the  promenaders  ? " 

"  Nonsense,  General !  "  said  the  little  woman,  tapping  the 
American  with  the  tip  of  her  lorgnette.  "  Who  comes  to  a 
ceremony  like  this  to  say  her  prayers?  Nobody  whatever,  and 
if  the  Holy  Father  himself  were  to  say  .  .  ." 

"Oh!  oh!" 

"  I  agree  with  the  Princess,"  said  Don  Camillo.  "  Who 
can  take  a  Miserere  solemnly  while  the  hymn  of  life  is  singing 
in  the  soul?  Who  can  think  of  the  mysteries  of  a  Divine 
passion  while  all  the  mysteries  of  human  passion  are  evoked  by 
this  radiant  morning  and  the  smiles  of  that  happy  crowd? 
Look!" 

They  walked  to  the  balcony  which  opened  off  the  room,  and 
a  murmur  came  up  to  them  like  that  of  the  long  waves  of  the 
Atlantic  to  passengers  on  a  ship,  at  sea. 

"  Is  it  the  Miserere  or  the  mise-en-scene  which  brings  them 
to  this  spectacle?  " 

"  Which  reminds  me,"  said  the  little  dahlia,  "  where  is 
Donna  Roma  ? " 

"  Yes,  indeed,  where  is  Donna  Roma  ? "  said  the  young 
Roman. 

"  When  was  Donna  Roma  absent  from  a  reception  given 
by  Baron  Bonelli  ? "  said  the  dahlia,  with  a  significant  trill  of 
laughter. 


24  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Who  is  Donna  Eoma  ? "  said  the  Englishman. 

"  Santo  Die !  the  man  doesn't  know  Donna  Roma !  " 

The  white  plumes  bobbed  up,  the  powdered  face  fell  back, 
the  little  twinkling  eyes  closed,  and  the  company  laughed  and 
seated  themselves  in  the  Loggia. 

"  Donna  Roma,  dear  sir,"  said  the  young  Roman,  "  is  a 
type  of  the  fair  lady  who  has  appeared  in  the  history  of  every 
nation  since  the  days  of  Helen  of  Troy — one  of  those  exquisite 
creatures  whose  lovely  eyes  and  rosy  mouth  exercise  a  function 
in  the  state." 

"  Poor  state !  "  laughed  the  Princess. 

"  In  the  orchard  of  the  nation  she  is  the  flower  of  flowers. 
Wherever  she  goes  a  perfume  of  adoration  follows  her,  and 
everybody  makes  way  for  her  as  for  a  sovereign.  In  the  world 
of  beauty  and  elegance  through  which  she  moves  she  is  a  queen, 
and  as  such  she  makes  her  own  manners  and  her  own  morality." 

"  Poor  morality !  " 

"  Has  a  woman  of  this  type,  then,  identified  herself  with 
the  story  of  Rome  at  a  moment  like  the  present?"  said  the 
Englishman. 

The  young  Roman  smiled,  bowed  his  head  aside  and  opened 
his  arms,  palms  inward,  as  if  playing  an  invisible  accordion. 

"  Why  did  the  Prime  Minister  appoint  so-and-so  ? — Donna 
Roma!  Why  did  he  dismiss  such-and-such? — Donna  Roma! 
What  feminine  influence  imposed  upon  the  nation  this  or  that  ? 
— Donna  Roma !  Through  whom  come  titles,  decorations,  hon- 
ours ? — Donna  Roma !  Who  pacifies  intractable  politicians 
and  makes  them  the  devoted  followers  of  the  Ministers? — 
Donna  Roma !  Who  organises  the  great  charitable  committees, 
collects  funds  and  distributes  them? — Donna  Roma!  Always, 
always  Donna  Roma  !  " 

"  So  the  day  of  the  petticoat  politician  is  not  over  in  Italy 
yet?" 

"Over?  It  will  only  end  with  the  last  trump.  But  dear 
Donna  Roma  is  hardly  that.  With  her  light  play  of  grace  and 
a  whole  artillery  of  love  in  her  lovely  eyes,  she  only  intoxicates 
a  great  capital  and  " — with  a  glance  toward  the  curtained  door 
— "  takes  captive  a  great  Minister." 

"  Just  that,"  and  the  white  plumes  bobbed  up  and  down. 

"  Hence  she  defies  conventions,  and  no  one  dares  to  question 
her  actions  on  her  scene  of  gallantry." 

"  Drives  a  pair  of  thoroughbreds  in  the  Corso  every  after- 
noon, and  threatens  to  buy  an  automobile." 


THE   HOLY   ROMAN  EMPIRE  25 

"  Has  debts  enough  to  sink  a  ship,  but  floats  through  life 
as  if  she  had  never  known  what  it  was  to  be  poor." 

"And  has  she?" 

The  voices  from  behind  the  curtained  door  were  louder  than 
usual  at  that  moment,  and  the  young  Roraan  drew  his  chair 
closer. 

"  Donna  Roma,  dear  sir,  was  the  only  child  of  Prince 
Volonna.  Nobody  mentions  him  now,  so  speak  of  him  in 
a  whisper.  The  Volonnas  were  an  old  papal  family,  holding 
ofiice  in  the  Pope's  household,  but  the  young  prince  of  the 
house  was  a  Liberal,  and  his  youth  was  cast  in  the  stormy 
days  of  the  middle  of  the  century.  As  a  son  of  the  revolution 
he  was  expelled  from  Rome  for  conspiracy  against  the  papal 
Governraent,  and  when  the  Pope  went  out  and  the  King  came 
in,  he  was  still  a  republican,  conspiring  against  the  reigning 
sovereign,  and,  as  such,  a  rebel.  Meanwhile  he  had  wandered 
over  Europe,  going  from  Geneva  to  Berlin,  from  Berlin  to 
Paris.  Finally  he  took  refuge  in  London,  the  home  of  all  the 
homeless,  and  there  he  was  lost  and  forgotten.  Some  say  he 
practised  as  a  doctor,  passing  under  another  name,  others  say 
that  he  spent  his  life  as  a  poor  man  in  your  Italian  quarter  of 
Soho,  nursing  rebellion  among  the  exiles  from  his  own  country. 
Only  one  thing  is  certain ;  late  in  life  he  came  back  to  Italy  as 
a  conspirator — enticed  back,  his  friends  say — was  arrested  on 
a  charge  of  attempted  regicide,  and  deported  to  the  island  of 
Elba  without  a  word  of  public  report  or  trial." 

"  Domicilio  Coatto — a  devilish  and  insane  device,"  said  the 
American  Ambassador.  "  Supposed  to  be  imposed  only  upon 
those  who  have  grown  up  in  vice,  are  intolerant  of  ties,  careless 
of  the  law,  and  a  permanent  danger  to  society." 

"  Was  that  the  case  with  Prince  Volonna  ?  " 

"  Just  so,"  said  the  Roman.  "  But  ten  or  twelve  years  after 
he  disappeared  from  the  scene  a  beautiful  girl  was  brought  to 
Rome  and  presented  as  his  daughter." 

"Donna  Roma?" 

"  Yes.  Her  youth  and  loveliness  alone  would  have  been 
enough  to  arrest  attention  in  a  city  devoted  to  beauty,  but  she 
had  the  further  advantage  of  being  presented  by  the  most 
courted  man  in  the  kingdom." 

"  Baron  Bonelli?" 

"  The  Prime  Minister  of  United  Italy !  It  turned  out  that 
he  was  a  distant  kinsman  of  the  refugee,  and  going  to  London 
he  discovered  that  the  Prince  had  married  an  English  wife 
3 


26  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

during  the  period  of  his  exile,  and  left  a  friendless  daughter. 
He  found  the  child  at  last — Heaven  knows  how  or  where; 
rumour  says  that  the  squalid  story  of  the  early  life  of  your 
Lady  Hamilton  is  an  idyl  compared  with  Donna  Roma's  ad- 
ventures." 

"  Madonna  mia !  "  said  the  little  Princess,  and  agafn  the 
white  plumes  bobbed  up  and  down. 

"  Out  of  pity  for  a  great  name  he  undertook  the  guardian- 
ship of  the  girl,  sent  her  to  school  in  France,  and  finally 
brought  her  to  Rome,  and  established  her  in  an  apartment  on 
the  Triuita  de'  Monti,  under  the  care  of  an  old  aunt,  poor  as 
herself,  and  once  a  great  coquette,  but  now  a  faded  rose  which 
has  long  since  seen  its  June." 

"And  then?" 

"  Then  ?  " — once  more  the  playing  of  the  invisible  accordion 
— "  Ah,  who  shall  say  what  then,  dear  friend  ?  We  can  only 
judge  by  what  appears — Donna  Roma's  elegant  figure,  dressed 
in  silk  by  the  best  milliners  Paris  can  provide,  queening  it  over 
half  the  women  of  Rome." 

"  And  now  her  aunt  is  conveniently  bedridden,"  said  the 
little.  Princess,  "  and  she  goes  about  alone  like  an  English- 
woman; and  to  account  for  her  extravagance,  while  everybody 
knows  her  father's  estate  was  confiscated,  she  is  by  way  of  being 
a  sculptor,  and  has  set  up  a  gorgeous  studio,  full  of  nymphs 
and  cupids  and  limbs." 

"  Where,"  said  the  young  Roman,  "  she  is  visited  and  flat- 
tered by  all  the  great  ones  of  the  earth,  and  flatters  them  in 
return  with  a  pretty  mouth  which  is  accustomed  at  once  to  the 
sweetness  of  love  and  the  hardness  of  fate." 

"  And  without  an  atom  of  talent  she  gets  commissions  for 
which  the  first  sculptors  in  Italy  would  give  their  ears." 

"  And  all  by  virtue  of: — what  ?  "  said  the  Englishman. 

"  By  virtue  of  being " — the  invisible  accordion  again — 
"  the  good  friend  of  the  Baron  Bonelli !  " 

"  Meaning  by  that  ?  " 

"  ISTothing — and  everything ! "  said  the  Princess  with 
another  trill  of  laughter. 

"  In  Rome,  dear  friend,"  said  Don  Camillo,  "  a  woman  can 
do  anything  she  likes  as  long  as  she  can  keep  people  from  talk- 
ing about  her." 

"  Oh,  you  never  do  that  apparently,"  said  the  Englishman. 
"  But  why  doesn't  the  Baron  make  her  a  Baroness  and  have 
done  with  the  danger  ?  " 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  27 

"  Because  the  Baron  has  a  Baroness  already." 

"  A  wife  living  ?  " 

"  Living  and  yet  dead !  " 

The  voices  beyond  the  curtained  doorway  were  audible 
again,  and  those  who  knew  the  Baron  recognised  the  sound  of  a 
blow  on  the  chest,  which  was  a  habit  of  his  when  angry  or 
excited. 

"  A  sad  story.  Sir  Evelyn,"  said  the  young  Roman.  "  Wife 
married  against  her  will — a  girl,  a  child,  with  light  curls  and 
pensive  blue  eyes — weeps  bitterly  on  her  wedding-day,  but 
afterwards  consoles  herself  with  a  young  officer,  who,  like  her- 
self, is  fond  of  dancing.  One  day  she  appears  at  a  masked  ball 
as  a  Bacchante — white  tunic,  bare  arms,  and  clinging  robes 
that  barely  conceal  her  limbs.  Dances  with  her  young  officer 
until  midnight,  when  her  husband  comes  out  with  her  wraps, 
and  without  a  word  they  get  into  the  carriage.  The  drive  is 
long  and  dark — '  Where  are  we  going  ? '  she  asks,  and  he  an- 
swers :  '  I've  given  my  orders ! '  At  last  she  gets  out  trembling 
and  in  terror  at  his  ancestral  home,  a  country  castle  of  un- 
known age  in  the  Alban  hills.  '  This  is  to  be  your  residence  for 
the  rest  of  your  life,'  he  says.  In  less  than  a  year  she  is  a  hope- 
less imbecile  and  he  has  come  back  to  Rome  and  the  world." 

"Terrible!" 

"  But  why  do  these  little  thoughtless  things  run  up 
against  men  like  that  ? "  says  the  Princess. 

"  What  you  tell  me  about  Donna  Roma  inclines  me  to  think 
that  she  is  more  sinned  against  than  sinning,"  said  the  English- 
man. "  I  dare  say  the  Baron,  like  most  public  men  in  the  East, 
has  only  the  Eastern — may  I  say  the  scriptural  ? — idea  of  wom- 
an, an  accessory  to  his  political  position.  Roma !  A  name  like 
music.  Born  in  England,  you  say?  Probably  in  the  poor 
quarter  of  Soho.  Perhaps  a  British  subject  still !  In  that  case 
she  is  a  protegee  of  mine  in  one  sense,  and  if  I  can  ever  be  of 
use  to  her  ..." 

The  little  white  plumes  were  dancing  above  the  little  gleam- 
ing eyes. 

"  Another  conquest  for  dear  Roma !  Well,  well !  all  tastes 
are  tastes ! " 


The  curtain  parted  over  the  inner  doorway,  and  three  gen- 
tlemen came  out.  The  first  was  a  tall,  spare  man,  about  fifty 
years  of  age,  with  an  intellectual  head,  features  cut  clear  and 


28  THE  ETERNALi  CITY 

hard  like  granite,  glittering  eyes  under  overhanging  brows, 
black  moustaches  turned  up  at  the  ends,  and  iron-grey  hair 
cropped  very  short  over  a  high  forehead.  It  was  the  Baron 
Bonelli.  He  was  faultlessly  dressed,  had  an  air  of  distinction, 
and  made  an  instantaneous  impression  of  force  and  power. 

One  of  the  two  men  with  him  had  a  face  which  looked  as  if 
it  had  been  carved  by  a  sword  or  an  adze,  good  and  honest  but 
blunt  and  rugged ;  and  the  other  had  a  long,  narrow  head,  like 
the  head  of  a  hen — a  lanky  person  with  a  certain  mixture  of 
arrogance  and  servility  in  his  expression. 

The  company  rose  from  their  places  in  the  Loggia,  and 
there  were  greetings  and  introductions. 

"  Sir  Evelyn  Wise,  gentlemen,  the  new  British  Ambassador 
— General  Morra,  our  Minister  of  War,  Commendatore  Angel- 
elli,  our  Chief  of  Police.  A  thousand  apologies,  ladies!  A 
Minister  of  the  Interior  is  one  of  the  human  atoms  that  live 
from  minute  to  minute  and  are  always  at  the  mercy  of  events. 
You  must  excuse  the  Commendatore,  gentlemen,  he  has  urgent 
duties  outside." 

The  Prime  Minister  spoke  with  the  lucidity  and  emphasis 
of  a  man  accustomed  to  command,  and  when  Angelelli  had 
bowed  all  round  he  crossed  with  him  to  the  door. 

"  If  there  is  any  suspicion  of  commotion,  arrest  the  ring- 
leaders at  once.  Let  there  be  no  trifling  with  disorder  by 
whomsoever  begun.  The  first  to  offend  must  be  the  first  to  be 
arrested,  whether  he  wears  cap  or  cassock." 

"  Good,  your  Excellency,"  and  the  Chief  of  Police  went  out. 

"  Commotion !  Disorder !  Madonna  mia !  "  cried  the  little 
Princess. 

"  Calm  yourselves,  ladies.  It's  nothing !  Only  it  came  to 
the  knowledge  of  the  Government  that  the  Pope's  procession 
this  morning  might  be  made  the  excuse  for  a  disorderly  dem- 
onstration, and  of  course  order  must  not  be  disturbed  even 
under  the  pretext  of  liberty  and  religion." 

"  So  that  was  the  public  business  which  deprived  us  of 
your  society  ? "  said  the  Princess,  with  the  sweetest  twinkle 
of  her  little  eyes. 

"  And  left  my  womanless  house  the  duty  of  receiving  you  in 
my  absence,"  said  the  Baron,  with  a  stately  bow.  Then  in  ex- 
planation of  his  preceding  words  he  added: 

"  The  Pope,  dear  friends,  is  a  good  and  venerable  man,  but 
he  shows  disrespect  and  antagonism  to  all  that  Italy  holds  dear, 
and  it  is  the  duty  of  the  Government  to  see  that  this  latest  of 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  29 

his  challenges  is  not  turned  to  account  by  the  enemies  of  the 
King." 

"  Can  it  be  possible  that  your  Excellency  apprehends  anoth- 
er Anarchist  rising  ?  "  said  the  Englishman. 

"  In  Rome  ?  No !  A  city  of  sleepy  ones — of  aristocratic 
calm — of  benevolent  indifference.  All  the  rest  of  the  world 
boils  and  bubbles,  Rome  smiles  at  everything,:  it  is  the  Eternal 
City,  with  an  unfailing  faith  in  its  own  destinies.  Its  pro- 
letariat— an  inert  mass;  its  nobles — chiefly  idlers  in  the  court 
of  their  goddess,  love;  its  middle  class — the  only  one  to  be 
reckoned  with,  and  they  live  on  the  civil  service,  and  therefore 
support  the  law.  All  the  same  the  Pope  is  a  person  of  no  coun- 
try, he  has  forbidden  his  faithful  ones  to  be  patriots  and  take 
part  in  the  affairs  of  Italy;  and  it  is  possible  for  the  man  of 
the  piazza — the  man  in  the  street,  as  you  say — to  imagine  that 
this  celebration  at  the  end  of  the  century  strikes  the  note  of  a 
sort  of  international  Christian  Socialism,  in  which  the  Holy 
Father  stands  for  the  people  against  all  kings  and  govern- 
ments." 

"  Preposterous  idea !  " 

"  Preposterous,  indeed.  Princess.  A  people's  Pope  is  an 
impossible  being.  A  Pope  who  is  tolerant  of  other  faiths  or 
authority  is  illogical  and  absurd.  The  policy  of  priests  known 
as  the  Vatican  must  ever  remain  a  mystery  to  the  outer  world, 
but  its  propaganda  is,  and -always  must  be,  anti-democratic.  As 
a  matter  of  fact,  the  present  Pope  is  the  most  determined  up- 
holder of  the  Vatican  idea — the  absolute  rule  of  one  man." 

"  And  yet  the  priests  of  his  own  academy  say  he  is  a  Liberal 
Pope?  "  said  the  Englishman. 

"  The  priests  of  my  academy  know  better,  your  Excellency. 
His  life  has  been  the  last  exposure  of  that  silliest  absurdity — a 
people's  Pontiff." 

The  Baron  bowed  his  guests  to  their  seats,  stood  with  his 
back  to  a  wide  ingle,  and  gave  his  version  of  the  Pope's  career. 

"  His  father  was  a  Roman  banker — lived  in  this  house, 
indeed — and  the  young  Leone  was  brought  up  in  the  Jesuit 
schools  and  became  a  member  of  the  ISToble  Guard:  handsojne, 
accomplished,  fond  of  society  and  social  admiration,  a  man  of 
the  world.  This  was  a  cause  of  disappointment  to  his  father, 
who  had  intended  him  for  a  great  career  in  the  Church.  They 
had  their  differences,  and  finally  a  mission  was  found  for  him 
and  he  lived  a  year  abroad.  The  death  of  the  old  banker 
brought  him  back  to  Rome,  and  then,  to  the  astonishment  of 


30  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

society,  he  renounced  the  world  and  took  holy  orders.  Why  he 
gave  up  his  life  of  gallantry  did  not  appear  .  .  ." 

"  Some  affair  of  the  heart,  dear  Baron,"  said  the  little 
Princess,  with  another  melting  look. 

"  No,  there  was  no  talk  of  that  kind,  Princess,  and  not  a 
whisper  of  scandal.  Some  said  the  young  soldier  had  married 
in  England,  and  lost  his  wife  there,  but  nobody  knew  for  cer- 
tain. There  was  less  doubt  about  his  religious  vocation,  and 
when  by  help  of  his  princely  inheritance  he  turned  his  mind  to 
the  difficult  task  of  reforming  vice  and  ministering  to  the 
lowest  aspects  of  misery  in  the  slums  of  Rome,  society  said  he 
had  turnQd  Socialist.  His  popularity  with  the  people  was  un- 
bounded, but  in  the  midst  of  it  all  he  begged  to  be  removed  to 
London.  There  he  set  up  the  same  enterprises,  and  tramped 
the  streets  in  search  of  his  waifs  and  outcasts,  night  and  day, 
year  in,  year  out,  as  if  driven  on  by  a  consuming  passion  of  pity 
for  the  lost  and  fallen.  In  the  interests  of  his  health  he  was 
called  back  to  Rome — and  returned  here  a  white-haired  man  of 
forty." 

"  Ah !  what  did  I  say,  dear  Baron  ?  The  apple  falls  near  the 
tree,  you  know !  " 

"  By  this  time  he  had  given  away  millions,  and  the  Pope 
wished  to  make  him  President  of  his  Academy  of  Noble 
Ecclesiastics,  but  he  begged  to  be  excused.  Then  Apostolic 
Delegate  to  the  United  States,  and  he  prayed  off.  Then  Nun- 
cio to  Spain,  and  he  went  on  his  knees  to  remain  in  the  Cam- 
pagna  Romana,  and  do  the  work  of  a  simple  priest  among  a 
simple  people.  At  last,  without  consulting  him,  they  made 
him  Bishop  and  afterwards  Cardinal,  and,  on  the  death  of  the 
Pope,  he  was  Scrutator  to  the  Conclave,  and  fainted  when 
he  read  out  his  own  name  as  that  of  Sovereign  Pontiff  of  the 
Church." 

The  little  Princess  was  wiping  her  eyes. 

"  Then — all  the  world  was  changed.  The  priest  of  the 
future  disappeared  in  a  Pope  who  was  the  incarnation  of  the 
past.  Authority  was  now  his  watchword.  What  was  the 
highest  authority  on  earth?  The  Holy  See!  Therefore,  the 
greatest  thing  for  the  world  was  the  domination  of  the  Pope. 
If  anybody  should  say  that  the  power  conferred  by  Christ  on 
his  Vicar  was  only  spiritual,  let  him  be  accursed!  In  Christ's 
name  the  Pope  was  sovereign — supreme  sovereign  over  the 
bodies  and  souls  of  men- — acknowledging  no  superior,  holding 
the  right  to  make  and  depose  kings,  and  claiming  to  be  su- 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  31 

preme  judge  over  the  consciences  and  crimes  of  all — the  peas- 
ant that  tills  the  soil  and  the  prince  that  sits  on  the  throne !  " 

"  Tre-men-jous !  "  said  the  American. 

The  company  laughed,  the  Baron  smiled.  "  It  was  the  only- 
logic,  General  Potter.  The  Pope  was  right  on  his  own  lines. 
What  happened?  The  pious  chief  of  the  Militia  of  the  Cross 
began  to  look  forward  to  a  day  when  he  should  be  again  sur- 
rounded by  an  army.  His  predecessor  had  been  content  to 
cavil  and  carp  about  the  restoration  of  the  temporal  power  of 
the  Pope  in  these  poor  little  Papal  States,  but  he  dared  to 
dream  of  the  revival  of  the  Holy  Roman  Empire.  The  divine 
rule  of  humanity  from  the  chair  of  St.  Peter !  A  united  world 
worshipping  at  one  altar!  The  tiara  and  the  sword  bound  to- 
gether again  for  the  conquest  of  the  world !  ^Nations  to  have 
what  Governments  they  pleased,  but  the  Holy  See  to  be  over 
everything !  Rome  to  be  the  court  of  arbitration  for  economic 
as  well  as  international  differences,  and  the  Vicar  of  Christ  to 
be  all  in  all !  " 

"  A  magnificent  dream,  your  Excellency." 

"  Oh,  I  recognise  its  magnificence,  Sir  Evelyn — the  magnifi- 
cence of  a  mirage.  The  grandeur  and  amplitude  of  a  concep- 
tion that  will  be  carried  into  execution  when  humanity  is  fed 
on  pap  and  put  back  into  swaddling  clothes.  And  to-day  we 
are  to  hear  the  first  trumpet  blast  that  calls  on  the  Church  to 
return  to  the  past  and  suffocate  the  twentieth  century  in  the 
mysticism  of  the  tenth." 

"  All  the  same,  it  stirs  my  blood  like  a  draught  of  wine," 
said  the  Englishman,  "  and  I'm  doubly  anxious  to  see  the  man 
who  thought  of  it." 

"  You'll  see  more  than  that  to-day,"  said  the  Baron ;  "  you'll 
see  the  first  failure  of  the  Church  in  its  claim  to  the  heirship  of 
the  world.  You've  heard  of  the  order  in  the  Pope's  Bull  about 
the  simultaneous  salutation  ?  iS^o  ?  At  noon  the  Pope  will  go 
up  to  the  balcony  of  St.  Peter's  and  bless  the  nations  of  the 
earth  in  one  solemn  benediction.  Then  all  the  church  bells 
will  ring  as  signal  to  the  four  quarters  of  the  globe  of  the  dawn 
of  the  new  era.  At  that  moment  everything  in  Rome,  in  Italy, 
in  Europe,  in  Christendom — whatever  the  hour  elsewhere — is 
to  come  to  a  dead  stand  for  thirty  seconds,  while  all  the  world 
salutes  the  coming  century." 

"  Tremenjous  !  "  said  the  American  again. 

"  Will  it  happen  ?  "  said  the  Englishman. 

The  Baron  laughed.    "  If  it  does  it  will  strike  a  triumph  for 


32  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

the  Church  before  the  century  begins,  and  some  of  us  may  as 
well  throw  up  the  sponge." 

"  But,  dear  Baron,"  said  the  little  Princess,  "  don't  you 
think  there  was  an  affair  of  the  heart  after  all  ?  "  and  the  little 
plumes  bobbed  sideways. 

The  Baron  laughed  again.  "  The  Pope  seems  to  have  half 
of  humanity  on  his  side  already — he  has  all  the  women  appa- 
rently." 

All  this  time  there  had  risen  from  the  piazza  into  the  room 
a  humming  noise  like  the  swarming  of  bees,  but  now  a  shrill 
voice  came  up  from  the  crowd  with  the  sudden  swish  of  a 
rocket. 

"  Look  out !  " 

The  young  Roman,  who  had  been  looking  over  the  balcony, 
turned  his  head  back  and  said : 

"  Donna  Roma,  Excellency." 

But  the  Baron  had  gone  from  the  room. 

"  He  knew  her  carriage  wheels  apparently,"  said  Don 
Camillo,  and  the  lips  of  the  little  Princess  closed  tight  as  if 
from  sudden  pain. 

VI 

The  return  of  the  Baron  was  announced  by  the  faint  rustle 
of  a  silk  iinder-skirt  and  a  light  yet  decided  step  keeping  pace 
with  his  own.  He  came  back  with  Donna  Roma  on  his  arm, 
and  over  his  coolness  and  calm  dignity  he  looked  pleased  and 
proud. 

The  lady  herself  was  brilliantly  animated  and  happy.  A 
certain  swing  in  her  graceful  carriage  gave  an  instant  impres- 
sion of  perfect  health,  and  there  was  physical  health  also  in  the 
brightness  of  her  eyes  and  the  gaiety  of  her  expression.  Her 
face  was  lighted  up  by  a  smile  which  seemed  to  pervade  her 
whole  person,  and  make  it  radiant  with  overflowing  joy.  A 
vivacity  which  was  at  the  same  time  dignified  and  spontaneous 
appeared  in  every  movement  of  her  harmonious  figure,  and  as 
she  came  into  the  room  there  was  a  glow  of  health  and  happi- 
ness that  filled  the  air  like  the  glow  of  sunlight  through  a  veil 
of  soft  red  gauze. 

"  What  a  lovely  face,"  whispered  the  wife  of  the  English- 
man. 

"  She's  certainly  beautiful,  and  I  must  allow  she's  well 
dressed,"  said  the  little  Princess. 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN   EMPIRE  33 

She  wore  a  picture  hat  with  ostrich  plumes  and  a  tight- 
fitting  astrachan  coat  with  ermine  lining  and  long  flowing  skirt 
that  threw  out  the  grace  of  her  full  round  form,  and  there  was 
a  scarf  of  old  lace  about  her  neck  which  heightened  the  bril- 
liancy of  her  violet  eyes. 

"  I  thought  you  admired  her  immensely,"  whispered  the 
Englishwoman  again,  and  the  little  Princess  replied: 

"  I  ?    What  nonsense !    Do  you  think  I'm  a  man,  my  dear  ?  " 

She  saluted  the  Baron's  guests  with  a  smile  that  fascinated 
evei-ybody.  There  was  a  modified  air  of  freedom  about  her,  as 
of  one  who  has  a  right  to  make  advances,  a  manner  which  capti- 
vates all  women  in  a  queen  and  all  men  in  a  lovely  woman. 

"Ah,  it  is  you.  General  Potter?  And  my  dear  General 
Morra?  Camillo  mio!"  (The  Italian  had  rushed  upon  her 
and  kissed  her  hand.)  "  Sir  Evelyn  Wise,  from  England,  isn't 
it?  I'm  half  an  Englishwoman  myself,  and  I'm  very  proud 
of  it." 

Having  thus  gone  through  the  men,  her  little  battle  of 
coquetry  ended  in  kisses  for  the  women. 

"  Dearest  Roma !  Enraptured  to  see  you ! "  said  the 
Princess. 

"  Charming,  isn't  she  ?  "  said  the  American. 

"  I  don't  believe  a  word  of  that  story,"  said  the  Englishman. 

She  had  smiled  frankly  into  Sir  Evelyn's  face,  and  he  had 
smiled  back  without  knowing  it.  There  was  something  con- 
tagious about  her  smile.  The  rosy  mouth  with  its  pearly  teeth 
seemed  to  smile  of  itself,  and  the  lovely  eyes  had  their  separate 
art  of  smiling.  Her  lips  parted  of  themselves,  and  then  you  felt 
your  own  lips  parting. 

"  Yes,  there's  some  terrible  charm  about  her,"  whispered 
the  American,  "  something  beyond  my  comprehension." 

"  She  has  lived — that's  all  I  see  in  it,"  replied  the  English- 
man. 

In  a  moment  she  had  engaged  everybody  in  a  lively  conver- 
sation. Notwithstanding  her  natural  gaiety  and  animation, 
those  who  knew  her  saw  that  she  was  labouring  under  excite- 
ment, and  her  joyous  face  seemed  to  say  that  the  cause  of  it  was 
a  happy  one.  She  was  constantly  pulling  the  scarf  of  lace,  and 
sometimes  it  fell  off  her  neck,  and  the  young  Roman  picked  it 
up.  Then  she  laughed,  and  to  keep  herself  quiet  she  opened 
her  coat,  over  a  dove-grey  gown,  and  threw  herself  back  in  an 
easy-chair,  when  there  was  a  glimpse  of  a  dainty  shoe  and  a 
blue-figured  stocking. 


34  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  You  were  to  have  been  busy  with  your  fountain  to-day 
..."  began  the  Baron. 

"  So  I  expected,"  she  said  in  a  voice  that  was  soft  yet  full, 
"  and  I  did  not  think  I  should  care  to  see  any  more  spectacles 
in  Home,  where  the  people  are  going  in  procession  all  the  year 
through — but  what  do  you  think  has  brought  me  ?  " 

"  The  artist's  instinct,  of  course,"  said  Don  Camillo. 

"  No,  just  the  woman's — to  see  a  man !  " 

"  Lucky  fellow,  whoever  he  is !  "  said  the  American.  "  He'll 
see  something  better  than  you  will,  though,"  and  then  the 
golden  complexion  gleamed  up  at  him  under  a  smile  like  sun- 
shine. 

"  But  who  is  he  ?  "  said  the  young  Roman. 

"  I'll  tell  you.    Bruno — you  remember  Bruno  ?  " 

"  Bruno !  "  cried  the  Baron. 

"  Oh !  Bruno  is  all  right,"  she  said,  and,  turning  to  the 
others,  "  Bi-uno  is  my  man  in  the  studio — my  marble  pointer, 
you  know.  Bruno  Rocco,  and  nobody  was  ever  so  rightly 
named.  A  big,  shaggy,  good-natured  bear,  always  singing  or 
growling  or  laughing,  and  as  true  as  steel.  A  terrible  Liberal, 
though;  a  socialist,  an  anarchist,  a  nihilist,  and  everything 
that's  shocking." 

"Well?" 

"  Well,  ever  since  I  began  my  fountain  .  .  .  I'm  making 
a  fountain  for  the  Municipality — it  is  to  be  erected  in  the  new 
part  of  the  Piazza  Colonna.  I  expect  to  finish  it  in  a  fortnight. 
You  would  like  to  see  it?  Yes?  I'll  send  you  cards — a  little 
private  view,  you  know." 

"But  Bruno?" 

"  Ah !  yes,  Bruno !  Well,  I've  been  at  a  loss  for  a  model 
for  one  of  my  figures  .  .  .  figures  all  round  the  dish,  you 
know.  They  represent  the  Twelve  Apostles,  with  Christ  in  the 
centre  giving  out  the  water  of  life." 

"  But  Bruno  !  Bruno  !  Bruno !  " 

She  laughed,  and  the  merry  ring  of  her  laughter  set  them 
all  laughing. 

"  Well,  Bruno  has  sung  the  praises  of  one  of  his  friends 
until  I'm  crazy  .  .  .  crazy,  that's  English,  isn't  it?  I  told  you 
I  was  half  an  Englishwoman.  American  ?  Thanks,  General ! 
I'm  '  just  crazy  '  to  get  him  in." 

"  Simple  enough — hire  him  to  sit  to  you,"  said  the  Princess. 

"  Oh,"  with  a  mock  solemnity,  "  he  is  far  too  grand  a  person 
for  that !     A  member  of  parliament,  a  leader  of  the  Left,  a 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  35 

prophet,  a  person  with  a  mission,  and  I  daren't  even  dream 
of  it.  But  this  morning,  Bruno  tells  me,  his  friend,  his  idol, 
is  to  stop  the  Pope's  procession,  and  jiresent  a  petition,  so  I 
thought  I  would  kill  two  birds  with  one  stone — see  my  man  and 
see  the  spectacle — and  here  I  am  to  see  them !  " 

"  And  who  is  this  paragon  of  yours,  my  dear  ?  " 

"  The  great  David  Rossi !  " 

"That  man!" 

The  white  plumes  were  going  like  a  fan. 

"  Why  not  ?  They  say  he  is  beautiful.  Tall,  dark,  dis- 
tinguished, great  ecstatic  eyes,  solemn  expression,  and  deep 
vibrating  voice — one  of  those  voices  that  go  through  and 
through  you — not  a  husky  '  Left '  voice  that  cracks  on  the  top 
note,  you  know." 

"  The  man  is  a  public  nuisance  and  ought  to  be  put  down 
by  the  police,"  said  the  little  Princess,  beating  her  foot  on  the 
floor. 

"  He  has  a  tongue  like  a  sword  and  a  pen  like  a  dagger," 
said  the  young  Roman. 

Donna  Roma's  eyes  began  to  flash  with  a  new  expression. 

"  Ah,  yes,  he  is  a  journalist,  isn't  he,  and  libels  people  in 
his  paper  ? " 

"  The  creature  has  ruined  more  reputations  than  anybody 
else  in  Europe,"  said  the  little  Princess. 

"  I  remember  now.  tie  made  a  terrible  attack  on  our  young 
old  women  and  our  old  young  men.  Declared  they  were 
meddling  with  everything — called  them  a  museum  of  mum- 
mies, and  said  they  were  symbolical  of  the  ruin  that  was  coming 
on  the  country.  Shameful,  wasn't  it  ?  ISTobody  likes  to  be  talked 
about,  especially  in  Rome,  where  it's  the  end  of  everything. 
But  what  matter?  The  young  man  has  perhaps  learned  free- 
dom of  speech  in  some  free  country.  We  can  afford  to  forgive 
him,  can't  we?  And  then  he  is  so  interesting  and  so  hand- 
some !  " 

The  words,  the  tones,  the  glances,  had  gone  flashing  around 
the  room  like  veiled  lightning,  and  the  American  looked  over 
at  the  Englishman,  who  dropped  his  head  and  thought,  "  It's 
true,  there's  something  terrible  about  her — something  strange, 
at  all  events." 

"  An  attempt  to  stop  the  Pope's  procession  might  end  in 
tumult,"  said  the  American  General  to  the  Italian  General. 
"  Was  that  the  danger  the  Baron  spoke  about  ?  " 

"  Yes,"  said  General  Mora.     "  The  Government  have  been 


36  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

compelled  to  tax  bread,  and  of  course  that  has  been  a  signal 
for  the  enemies  of  the  national  spirit  to  say  that  we  are  starv- 
ing the  people.  This  David  Rossi  is  the  worst  Roman  in  Rome. 
He  opposed  us  in  Parliament  and  lost.  Petitioned  the  King 
and  lost  again.  Now  he  intends  to  petition  the  Pope — with 
what  hope,  Heaven  knows." 

"  With  the  hope  of  playing  on  public  opinion  of  course," 
said  the  Baron  cynically. 

"  Public  opinion  is  a  great  force,  your  Excellency,"  said  the 
Englishman. 

"  A  great  pestilence,"  said  the  Baron  warmly. 

"What  is  David  Rossi?" 

"  An  anarchist,  a  republican,  a  nihilist,  anything  as  old 
as  the  hills,  dear  friend,  only  everything  in  a  new  way,"  said 
the  young  Roman. 

"  David  Rossi  is  the  politician  who  proposes  to  govern  the 
world  by  the  precepts  of  the  Lord's  Prayer,"  said  the  American. 

"The  Lord's  Prayer!" 

"  A  dreamer  of  other  days,  dear  friend,"  said  Don  Camillo. 
"  Caught  the  sacred  sickness  abroad  somewhere,  and  brought 
the  phantasm  of  his  sick  head,  intoxicated  with  God,  into  the 
Rome  of  the  resurrection.  Lombroso  would  have  shut  him  up 
in  an  asylum.  We  are  more  liberal,  we  only  send  him  to  the 
Chamber  of  Deputies,  where  he  formulates  his  unpractical 
theories  and  draws  up  statistics  of  how  much  polenta  the 
peasants  eat." 

The  Baron  paraded  on  the  hearthrug.  "  David  Rossi,"  he 
said  compassionately,  "  is  a  creature  of  his  age.  A  man  of 
generous  impulses  and  wide  sympathies,  moved  to  indignation 
at  the  extremes  of  poverty  and  wealth,  and  carried  away  by 
the  promptings  of  the  eternal  religion  in  the  human  soul.  A 
dreamer,  of  course,  a  dreamer  like  the  Holy  Eather  himself, 
(mly  his  dream  is  different,  and  neither  could  succeed  without 
destroying  the  other.  In  the  millennium  Rossi  looks  for,  not 
only  are  kings  and  princes  to  disappear,  but  popes  and  prelates 
as  well." 

"  And  where  does  this  unpractical  politician  come  from  ?  " 
said  the  Englishman. 

"  We  must  ask  you  to  tell  us  that.  Sir  Evelyn,  for  though 
he  is  supposed  to  be  a  Roman,  he  seems  to  have  lived  most 
of  his  life  in  your  country.  As  silent  as  an  owl  and  as  inscru- 
table as  a  sphinx.  Nobody  in  Rome  knows  certainly  who  his 
father  was,  nobody  knows  certainly  who  his  mother  was.    Some 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  37 

say  his  father  was  an  Englishmqn,  some  say  a  Jew,  and  some 
say  his  mother  was  a  gipsy.  A  self-centred  man,  who  never 
talks  about  himself,  and  cannot  be  got  to  lift  the  veil  which 
surrounds  his  birth  and  early  life.  Came  back  to  Rome  eight 
years  ago,  and  made  a  vast  noise  by  propounding  his  platonic 
scheme  of  politics — was  called  up  for  his  term  of  military 
service,  refused  to  sei*ve,  got  himself  imprisoned  for  six  months 
and  came  out  a  mighty  hero — was  returned  to  Parliament  for 
no  fewer  than  three  constituencies,  sat  for  Rome,  took  his  place 
on  the  Extreme  Left,  and  attacked  every  Minister  and  every 
measure  which  favoured  the  interest  of  the  army — encouraged 
the  workmen  not  to  pay  their  taxes  and  the  farmers  not  to  pay 
their  rents — and  thus  became  the  leader  of  a  noisy  faction,  and 
is  now  surrounded  by  the  degenerate  class  throughout  Italy 
which  dreams  of  reconstructing  society  by  burying  it  under 
ruins." 

"  A  sort  of  religious  anarchist  apparently?  " 

"  Say  a  visionary  like  the  Pope,  Sir  Evelyn.  His  sover- 
eign ideal  is  a  vaporous  dream  which  he  calls  the  '  Republic 
of  Man.'  The  fatherhood  of  God !  The  brotherhood  of  man ! 
Equality  of  human  rights !  Unity  of  humanity !  Abolition 
of  war,  of  national  boundaries,  of  the  custom-house  officer, 
of  the  soldier,  of  distinctions  of  race,  of  ownership  of  land, 
of  capital,  of  authority,  of  the  Vatican,  of  ...  of  every- 
thing !  " 

"  Makes  one  think  of  the  magnificent  hallucinations  of  the 
Early  Christian  ascetics,"  said  the  Englishman. 

"  Even  hallucinations  can  make  revolutions,"  said  the 
American. 

"  Lived  in  England,  you  say  ?  " 

"  Apparently,  and  if  his  early  life  could  be  traced,  it  would 
probably  be  found  that  he  was  brought  up  in  an  atmosphere  of 
conspiracy — perhaps  under  the  influence  of  some  vile  revolu- 
tionary living  in  London  under  the  protection  of  your  too  lib- 
eral laws.  Therefore  one  of  the  men  who  in  every  age  interpret 
by  their  own  suiferings  the  sufferings  of  the  world,  and  gather 
about  them,  without  intending  it,  all  the  low-bred  rascals  who 
try  to  hurry  society  into  dissolution  and  anarchy." 

Donna  Roma  sprang  up  with  a  movement  full  of  grace  and 
energy.  "  Anyhow,"  she  said,  "  he  is  young  and  good-looking 
and  romantic  and  mysterious,  and  I'm  head  over  ears  in  love 
with  him  already." 

"  Well,  every  man  is  a  world,"  said  the  American. 


38  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  And  what  about  woman  ?  "  said  Roma. 
He  threw  up  his  hands,  she  smiled  full  into  his  face,  and 
they  laughed  together. 

VII 

A  FANFARE  of  trumpets  came  from  the  piazza,  and  with  a 
cry  of  delight  Roma  ran  into  the  balcony,  followed  by  all  the 
Avomen  and  most  of  the  men. 

"  Only  the  signal  that  the  cortege  has  started,"  said  Don 
Camillo.    "  They'll  be  some  minutes  still." 

"  Santo  Dio !  "  cried  Roma.  "  What  a  sight !  It  dazzles 
me ;  it  makes  me  dizzy !  It's  like  an  immense  living  thing,  a 
moving  creature,  great,  but  undefined,  a  mighty  centogambe 
with  multitudinous  heads ;  and  the  sound  that  comes  up  from 
it  is  like  the  buzz  of  a  million  grasshoppers." 

After  a  moment  she  began  to  pick  out  her  friends  from 
the  maze  in  which  all  faces  were  at  first  confused  in  one  magic 
sensation. 

That's  the  Ninety-third  Infantry  beyond  the  obelisk,  and 
those,  with  the  cock  feathers,  are  the  Bersaglieri.  There's  Com- 
mendatore  Angelelli,  the  chief  of  police — what's  he  doing 
down  there,  I  wonder?  That's  Fedi,  the  Pope's  doctor.  Every- 
body sends  for  him,  and  he  knows  all  the  secrets — ah,  he  could 
tell  us  something !  There's  Madame  Sella,  the  Queen's  dress- 
maker— she  has  married  her  daughter  to  a  Cavaliere,  and 
would  get  her  son  into  the  Ministry  if  she  had  one.  That's 
Palomba,  the  Mayor,  in  his  big  gilt  carriage;  and  that's  his 
wife  beside  him,  the  pale,  sweet  lady  with  the  roving  eyes. 
Palomba  is  a  millionaire,  and  has  his  supper  served  on  gold, 
but  his  wiie  is  really  out  of  her  mind,  poor  creature — ah, 
love  is  a  sugared  pill !  There's  Olga  the  journalist,  and  Lena 
the  cartoonist — they  say  Lena's  husband  is  Olga's  lover — and 
that's  young  Charles  Minghelli  standing  by  the  carriage  of 
the  old  gentleman  covered  with  medals.  Charles  is  Palomba's 
nephew — he  got  into  trouble  at  the  Embassy  in  London,  and 
had  to  leave  the  service.  Oh,  what  a  lovely  sight !  All  the 
costumes  of  Europe !  But  how  funny  the  men  look  in  evening 
dress  in  the  morning.  Wonder  if  the  policemen  gave  them 
away  when  they  came  down  the  street,  and  said  *  Good-night ' 
to  them  as  usual." 

Her  face  beamed,  her  eyes  danced,  and  she  was  all  aglow 
from  head  to  foot.     The  American  Ambassador  stood  behind 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  39 

her,  and,  as  permitted  by  his  greater  age,  he  tossed  back  the 
shuttlecock  of  her  playful  talk  with  chaff  and  laughter. 

"  How  patient  the  people  are !  See  the  little  groups  on 
camp-stools,  munching  biscuits  and  reading  the  journals.  '  La 
Vera  Roma! ' "  (mimicking  the  cry  of  the  newspaper  sellers). 
"  Look  at  that  pretty  girl — the  fair  one  with  the  young  man  in 
the  Homburg  hat !  She  has  climbed  up  the  obelisk,  and  is  in- 
viting him  to  sit  on  an  inch  and  a  half  of  corbel  beside  her." 

"  Ah,  those  who  love  take  up  little  room !  " 

"  Don't  they  ?  What  a  lovely  world  it  is !  I'll  tell  you  what 
this  makes  me  think  about — a  wedding!  Glorious  morning, 
beautiful  sunshine,  flowers,  wreaths,  bridesmaids  ready ;  coach- 
men all  a  posy,  only  waiting  for  the  bride !  " 

"  A  wedding  is  what  you  women  are  always  dreaming  about 
— you  begin  dreaming  about  it  in  your  cradles — it's  in  a  wom- 
an's bones,  I  do  believe,"  said  the  American. 

"  Must  be  the  ones  she  got  from  Adam,  then,"  said  Roma. 

Meantime  the  Baron  was  still  parading  the  hearthrug  in- 
side and  listening  to  the  warnings  of  his  Minister  of  War. 

"  You  are  resolved  to  arrest  the  man  ? " 

"  If  he  gives  us  any  opportunity — yes." 

"  You  do  not  forget  that  he  is  a  Deputy  ?  " 

"  It  is  because  I  remember  it  that  my  resolution  is  fixed.  In 
Parliament  he  is  a  privileged  person;  let  him  make  half  as 
much  disorder  outside  and  you  shall  see  where  he  will  be." 

"  Anarchists !  "  said  Roma.  "  That  group  below  the  bal- 
cony ?    Strange !     I  don't  feel  the  least  repugnance !  " 

"  Did  you  think  they  were  a  kind  of  wild  beast  that  ought 
to  be  shut  up  in  cages  ?  " 

"  Certainly  I  did,  but  then  I  think  that  of  every  son  of 
Adam.  Is  David  Rossi  among  them  ?  Yes  ?  Which  of  them  ? 
Which  ?  Which  ?  Which  ?  The  tall  man  in  the  black  hat  with 
his  back  to  us  ?  Oh !  why  doesn't  he  turn  his  face  ?  Should  T 
shout?" 

"  Roma !  "  from  the  little  Princess. 

"  I  know ;  I'll  faint,  and  you'll  catch  me,  and  the  Princess 
will  cry  'Madonna  mia!'  and  then  he'll  turn  round  and  look 
up." 

"My  child!" 

"He'll  see  through  you,  though,  and  then  where  will  you 
be?" 

"  See  through  me,  indeed ! "  and  she  laughed  the  laugh  a 
man  loves  to  hear,  half -raillery,  half-caress. 


40  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Donna  Roma  Volonna,  daughter  of  a  line  of  princes,  mak- 
ing love  to  a  nameless  nobody !  " 

"  Shows  what  a  heavenly  character  she  is,  then !  See  how 
good  I  am  at  throwing  bouquets  at  myself  ?  " 

"  Well,  what  is  love,  anyway  ?  A  certain  boy  and  a  certain 
girl  agree  to  go  for  a  row  in  the  same  boat  to  the  same  place, 
and  if  they  pull  together,  what  does  it  matter  where  they  come 
from?" 

"  What,  indeed  ? "  she  said,  and  a  smile,  partly  serious, 
played  about  the  parted  mouth. 

"Could  you  think  like  that?" 

"I  could!    I  could!    I  could!" 

The  Minister  of  War  was  looking  grave. 

"  The  man  has  a  great  following.  Remember,  whatever 
their  differences,  the  priests  are  with  him." 

"  They  are  always  with  everybody  who  is  aiming  to  over- 
throw the  royal  dynasty,"  said  the  Baron. 

"  If  the  Pope  should  receive  his  petition  and  listen  to 
him  .  .  ." 

"  Let  him !  Let  the  Pope  join  hands  with  any  of  the  vision- 
aries who  are  trying  to  bring  society  back  to  barbarism,  and  we 
shall  know  what  to  do.  Against  the  combined  plague  of  cleri- 
calism and  anarchism  some  vigorous  international  measures 
would  soon  be  necessary,  and  that  would  be  the  end  of  the  Holy 
Roman  Empire  and  of  the  Millennium  of  the  Lord's  Prayer 
as  well." 

The  clock  struck  eleven.  Another  fanfare  of  trumpets  came 
from  the  direction  of  the  Vatican,  and  then  the  confused  noises 
in  the  square  suddenly  ceased  and  a  broad  "  Ah !  "  passed  over 
it,  as  of  a  vast  living  creature  taking  breath. 

"  They're  coming !  "  cried  Roma.  "  Baron,  the  cortege  is 
coming." 

"  Presently,"  the  Baron  answered  from  within. 

Roma's  dog,  which  had  slept  on  a  chair  through  the  tumult, 
was  awakened  by  the  lull  and  began  to  bark.  She  picked  it  up, 
tucked  it  under  her  arm  and  ran  back  to  the  balcony,  where 
she  stood  by  the  parapet,  in  full  view  of  the  people  below,  with 
the  young  Roman  on  one  side,  the  American  on  the  other,  and 
the  ladies  seated  around. 

By  this  time  the  procession  had  begun  to  appear,  issuing 
from  a  bronze  gate  under  the  right  arm  of  the  colonnade,  and 
passing  down  the  channel  which  had  been  kept  open  by  the 
cordon  of  infantry.     At  first  a  mixed  anachronistic  company, 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  41 

with  gentlemen  in  evening  dress,  having  glittering  stars  on 
their  shirt  fronts,  and  chamberlains  in  silk  stockings  and 
ruflfs. 

Roma  abandoned  herself  to  the  fascinations  of  the  scene, 
and  her  gaiety  infected  everybody. 

"  Camillo,  you  must  tell  me  who  they  all  are.  There  now — 
those  men  who  come  first  in  black  and  red  ?  " 

"  Laymen,"  said  the  young  Roman.  "  They're  called  the 
Apostolic  Cursori.  When  a  Cardinal  is  nominated  they  take 
him  the  news,  and  get  two  or  three  thousand  francs  for  their 
trouble." 

"  Good  for  them !  And  those  fine  fellows  in  tight  black  vest- 
ments like  Spanish  bullfighters  ?  " 

"  The  Mazzieri !    They  carry  the  mace  to  clear  the  way." 

"  Of  course,  the  mace !  That's  the  big,  bright  silver  stick, 
the  same  as  the  porter's !  And  this  gorgeous  person  glittering 
like  a  gamecock  ?  " 

"  That's  the  Pope's  jeweller.  He  makes  the  Holy  Rose  and 
takes  care  of  the  Pope's  crown." 

"  Looks  it,  bless  him !  And  what  is  the  person  in  red  and 
purple  ? " 

"  Master  of  the  Holy  Hospice,  and  that  old  priest  behind 
him  is  one  of  the  Under-Sacristans." 

"  And  these  little  fat  folk  in  white  lace  pinafores  ?  " 

"  Singers  of  the  Sistine  Chapel.  That's  the  Director,  old 
Maestro  Mustafa — used  to  be  the  greatest  soprano  of  the  cen- 
tury." 

"  Thought  he  looked  like  an  old  woman  gone  wrong,"  said 
the  American. 

"  Did  you,  now  ?  " 

"  Well,  look  at  his  figure." 

"  But  a  woman's  figure  is  .  .  .  but  that's  a  myster''^  out- 
side of  man's  inferior  nature.    Go  on,  Camillo  mio." 

"  Those  men  in  the  long  black  robes  are  lawyers  of  the 
Apostolic  palace." 

"  And  this  dear  old  friar  with  the  mittens  and  rosary  and 
the  comfortable  linsey-woolsey  sort  of  face  ?  " 

"  That's  Father  Pifferi  of  San  Lorenzo,  confessor  to  the 
Pope.    He  knows  all  the  Pope's  sins." 

"  Oh !  "  said  Roma. 

At  that  moment  her  dog  barked  furiously,  and  the  old  friar 
looked  up  at  her,  whereupon  she  smiled  down  on  him,  and  then 
a  half  smile  played  about  his  good-natured  face. 
4 


42  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  He  is  a  Capuchin,  and  those  Frati  in  different  colours 
coming  behind  him  .  .  ," 

"  I  know  them ;  see  if  I  don't,"  she  cried,  as  there  passed 
under  the  balcony  a  double  file  of  friars  and  monks,  nearly  all 
alike,  fat,  ungainly,  flabby,  puffy  specimens  of  humanity,  car- 
rying torches  of  triple  candles,  and  telling  their  beads  as  they 
walked. 

The  brown  ones— Capuchins  and  Franciscans!  Brown  and 
white — Carmelites !  Black — Augustinians  and  Benedictines ! 
Black  with  a  white  cross — Passionists !  And  the  monks  all  white 
are  Trappists.  I  know  the  Trappists  best,  because  I  drive  out  to 
Tre  Fontane  to  buy  eucalyptus  and  flirt  with  Father  John." 

"  Shocking !  "  said  the  American. 

"  Why  not  ?  What  are  their  vows  of  celibacy  but  con- 
spiracies against  us  poor  women  ?  Kearly  every  man  a  woman 
wants  is  either  mated  or  has  sworn  off  in  some  way.  Oh,  how  I 
should  love  to  meet  one  of  those  anchorites  in  real  life  and 
make  him  fly !  " 

"  Well,  I  dare  say  the  w^hisk  of  a  petticoat  would  be  more 
frightening  than  all  his  doctors  of  divinity." 

An  immense  Gonfalone  was  going  past,  followed  by  a  long 
line  of  clergymen. 

"  These  are  the  Monsignori,"  said  Don  Camillo.  "  Secret 
Chaplains  and  Secret  Chamberlains.  That  one  is  the  Uditore 
Generale  of  the  Apostolic  Room.  This  one  is  the  Prefect  of  the 
Ceremonies.  They  go  with  the  Pope  to  the  Hall  of  Vestments, 
where  he  puts  on  his  sacred  robes." 

"  Do  they  dress  him  up  ?  " 

"  Oh,  dear  no !  That  is  an  honour  reserved  for  much  higher 
dignitaries.  Here  they  come — the  General  of  the  Jesuits,  they 
call  him  the  Black  Pope." 

"  Good  morning,  Signer,  the  successor  of  Loyola !  " 

"  Look !  Bishops  and  Archbishops  in  white  linen  mitres, 
and  Cardinals  in  silver  and  gold,  all  aglow  with  crimson  and 
guipure  lace.  That  one  is  a  Cardinal  Bishop — he  puts  on  the 
Pope's  pluviale." 

"What's  the  pluviale?" 

"  The  pluviale  .  .  .  I'll  show  you  when  the  Pope  comes. 
The  one  behind  in  the  red  rochet  with  silver  mitre  is  a  Cardinal 
Priest.  He  gives  the  Pope  a  gilded  candle  with  a  handle  to 
hold  it  by  made  of  silk  embroidered  with  gold ;  and  the  one  in 
the  tunic  is  a  Cardinal  Deacon — he  carries  the  canrllestick.  in 
case  the  Pope  should  grow  tired." 


THE   HOLY   ROMAN  EMPIRE  43 

"Listen!" 

From  a  part  of  the  procession  which  had  passed  the  balcony 
there  came  the  sound  of  harmonious  voices. 

"The  singers  of  the  Sistine  Chapel!  They're  singing  a 
hymn." 

"I  know  it.  '  Veni,  Creator!'  How  splendid!  How 
glorious !    I  feel  as  if  I  wanted  to  cry !  " 

But  she  was  still  smiling  at  the  whole  world  becaiise  it  was 
so  great  and  so  beautiful,  when  the  Baron  came  up  behind,  and, 
leaning  against  the  pilaster  of  the  window,  spoke  over  her 
shoulder  to  the  Minister  of  War,  who  stood  beside  her. 

"  That's  the  enemy  within  our  gates !  An  actor  versed  in 
every  art  of  arresting  the  eye  and  ear  of  the  populace,  and  with 
the  experience  of  sixteen  centuries  in  playing  the  drama  of 
sovereignty.  jSTow,  if  to  this  pageantry  is  added  a  little  senti- 
ment, who  knows  what  seed  it  may  fertilise  in  a  soil  ploughed 
by  seventy  thousand  priests  and  harrowed  by  men  like  David 
Rossi !  " 

All  at  once  the  singing  stopped,  the  murmuring  and  speak- 
ing of  the  crowd  ceased  too,  and  there  was  a  breathless  mo- 
ment, such  as  comes  before  the  first  blast  of  a  storm.  A 
nervous  quiver,  like  the  shudder  that  passes  over  the  earth  at 
sundown,  swept  across  the  piazza,  and  the  people  stood  motion- 
less, every  neck  stretched,  and  every  eye  turned  In  the  direction 
of  the  bronze  gate,  as  if  God  were  about  to  reveal  Himself  from 
the  Holy  of  Holies.  Then  in  that  grand  silence  there  came  the 
clear  call  of  silver  trumpets,  and  at  the  next  instant  the 
Presence  itself. 

"  The  Pope !    Baron,  the  Pope !  " 

The  atmosphere  was  charged  with  electricity.  A  great  roar 
of  cheering  went  up  from  below  like  the  roaring  of  surf,  and 
it  was  followed  by  a  clapping  of  hands  like  the  running  of 
the  sea  off  a  shingly  beach  after  the  boom  of  a  tremendous 
breaker. 

An  old  man,  dressed  whollv  in  white,  carried  shoulder-high 
on  a  chair  glittering  with  purple  and  crimson,  and  having  a 
canopy  of  silver  and  gold  above  him.  He  wore  a  triple  crown, 
which  glistened  in  the  sunlight,  and  but  for  the  delicate  white 
hand  which  he  vipraised  to  bless  the  people,  he  might  have  been 
mistaken  for  an  image. 

His  face  was  beautiful,  and  had  a  ray  of  beatified  light  on 
it — a  face  of  marvellous  sweetness  and  great  spirituality. 

Tt  was  a  thrilling  moment,  and  Roma's  excitement  was  in- 


44  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

tense.  "  There  he  is !  All  in  white !  He's  on  a  gilded  chair 
under  the  silken  canopy !  The  canopy  is  held  up  by  prelates, 
and  the  chairmen  are  in  knee-breeches  and  red  velvet.  Look  at 
the  great  waving  plumes  on  either  side !  " 

"  Peacock's  feathers !  "  said  a  voice  behind  her,  but  she  paid 
no  heed. 

"  Look  at  the  acolytes  swinging  incense,  and  the  golden 
cross  coming  before !  What  thunders  of  applause — I  can 
hardly  hear  myself  speak.  It's  like  standing  on  a  cliff  while  the 
sea  below  is  running  mountains  high.  No,  it's  like  no  other 
sound  on  earth ;  it's  human — fifty  thousand  unloosed  throats 
of  men !  That's  the  clapping  of  ladies — listen  to  the  weak  ap- 
l)lause  of  their  white-gloved  fingers.  Now  they're  waving  their 
handkerchiefs.  Look!  Like  the  wings  of  ten  thousand  butter- 
fiics  fluttering  up  from  a  meadow." 

"  Like  the  creation  of  a  queen  bee,"  said  the  cynical  voice 
behind. 

"  I'll  wave  my  own  handkerchief !  I  must !  I  can't 
help  it !  " 

There  were  deafening  shouts  in  Italian,  French,  and  Eng- 
lish. "  Long  live  the  Pope-King !  "  "  Long  live  the  Work- 
men's Pope !  " 

Roma's  mental  and  physical  abandonment  was  by  this  time 
complete;  she  was  waving  her  handkerchief  and  crying  "  Viva 
il  Papa  Ee!" 

"  Some  of  the  ladies  are  fainting.  Yes,  they're  losing  their 
senses." 

"  They'll  lose  something  more  valuable  soon — their  purses, 
if  they  don't  take  care,"  said  the  voice  behind,  but  still  Roma 
heard  nothing. 

"  They're  bearing  him  slowly  along.  He's  coming  this  way. 
Look  at  the  Noble  Guard  in  their  helmets  and  jack-boots.  And 
there  are  the  Swiss  Guard  in  Joseph's  coat  of  many  colours! 
We  can  see  him  plainly  now.  Do  you  smell  the  incense?  It's 
like  the  ribbon  of  Bruges.  The  pluviale  ?  That  gold  vestment  ? 
It's  studded  on  his  breast  with  precious  stones.  How  they  blaze 
in  the  sunshine !  He  is  blessing  the  people,  and  they  are  falling 
on  their  knees  before  him." 

"  Like  the  grass  before  the  scythe !  " 

"  How  tired  he  looks !  How  white  his  face  is !  No,  not 
white — ivory !  No,  marble — Carrara  marble !  He  might  be 
Lazarus  who  was  dead  and  has  come  back  from  the  tomb !  No 
humanity  left  in  liira !    A  sfiint  I    An  angel !  " 


THE  HOLY   ROMAN  EMPIRE  45 

"  The  spiritual  autocrat  of  the  world !  "  said  the  voice  be- 
hind. 

"  Viva  il  Pay  a  Re!  He's  going  by!  Viva  il  Papa  Re!  He 
has  gone.  .  .  .  Well!" 

She  was  rising  from  her  knees  and  wiping  her  eyes,  trying 
to  cover  up  with  laughter  the  confusion  of  her  rapture. 

"  Such  are  the  enchantments  of  eternal  Rome — Rome,  the 
lighthouse  on  the  rock  of  time !  "  said  the  Baron. 

"  Well,"  said  the  American,  "  if  the  Pope  is  a  symbol  we'll 
just  stick  to  our  flag.  Seems  to  me  it  isn't  too  good  for  a  man 
to  be  attended  like  a  pagan  god." 

"What  is  that?" 

There  was  a  somid  of  voices  in  the  distance  chanting 
dolorously. 

"  The  cantors  intoning  the  Tu  es  Petnis"  said  Don 
Camillo. 

"  No,  I  mean  the  commotion  down  there.  Somebody  is 
pushing  through  the  Guard." 

"  It's  David  Rossi,"  said  the  American. 

"  Is  that  David  Rossi  ?  Oh,  dear  me !  I  had  forgotten  all 
about  him."  She  moved  forward  to  see  his  face.  "  Why  .  .  . 
where  have  I  .  .  .  I've  seen  him  before  somewhere." 

A  strange  physical  sensation  tingled  all  over  her  at  that 
moment,  and  she  shuddered  as  if  with  sudden  cold. 

"What's  amiss?" 

"Nothing!  But  I  like  him.  Do  you  know,  I  really  like 
him." 

"  Women  are  funny  things,"  said  the  American. 

"  They're  very  nice,  though,  aren't  they  ?  "  And  two  rows 
of  pearly  teeth  between  parted  lips  gleamed  up  at  him  witli 
gay  raillery. 

Again  she  craned  forward.  "  He  is  on  his  knees  to  the 
Pope!  Now  he'll  present  the  petition.  No  .  .  .  yes  .  .  .  the 
brutes !  They're  dragging  him  away !  The  procession  is  going 
on  !    Disgraceful !  " 

"  Long  live  the  Workmen's  Pope ! "  came  up  from  the 
piazza,  and  under  the  shrill  shouts  of  the  pilgrims  Avere  heard 
the  monotonous  voices  of  the  monks  as  they  passed  through  the 
open  doors  of  the  Basilica  intoning  the  praises  of  God. 

"  They  are  lifting  him  on  to  a  car,"  said  the  American. 
•  "  David  Rossi  ?  " 

"  Yes ;  he  is  going  to  speak." 

"  How  delightful !     Shall  we  hoar  him  ?    Goodj     How  glad 


46  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

I  am  that  I  came!  He  is  facing  this  way!  Oh,  yes;  those 
are  his  own  people  with  the  banners !  Baron,  the  Holy 
Father  has  gone  on  to  St.  Peter's,  and  David  Rossi  is  going 
to  speak." 

"Hush!" 

A  quivering,  vibrating  voice  came  up  from  below,  and  in  a 
moment  there  was  a  dead  silence. 


VIII 

"  Brothers,  when  Christ  Himself  was  on  the  earth  going  up 
to  Jerusalem,  He  rode  on  the  colt  of  an  ass,  and  the  blind  and 
the  lame  and  the  sick  came  to  Him,  and  He  healed  them. 
Humanity  is  sick  and  blind  and  lame  to-day,  brothers,  but  the 
Vicar  of  Christ  goes  on." 

At  the  words  an  audible  murmur  came  from  the  crowd,  such 
as  goes  before  the  clapping  of  hands  in  a  Roman  theatre,  a 
great  upheaval  of  the  heart  of  the  audience  to  the  actor  who 
has  touched  and  stirred  it. 

"  Brothers,  in  a  little  Eastern  village  a  long  time  ago,  there 
arose  among  the  poor  and  lowly  a  great  Teacher,  and  the 
only  prayer  He  taught  liis  followers  was  the  prayer  '  Our 
Father  who  art  in  Heaven.'  It  was  the  expression  of  man's 
utmost  need,  the  expression  of  man's  utmost  hope.  And  not 
only  did  the  Teacher  teach  that  prayer — He  lived  according 
to  the  light  of  it.  All  men  were  His  brothers,  all  women 
His  sisters :  He  was  poor.  He  had  no  home,  no  purse,  and  no 
second  coat;  when  He  was  smitten  He  did  not  smite  back, 
and  when  He  was  unjustly  accused  He  did  not  defend  Him- 
self." 

The  long  "  Ah !  "  again,  as  of  sympathy  and  emotion. 

"  Nineteen  hundred  years  have  passed  since  then,  brothers, 
and  the  Teacher  who  arose  among  the  poor  and  lowly  is  now 
a  great  prophet.  All  the  world  knows  and  honours  Him,  and 
fivilised  nations  have  built  themselves  upon  the  religion  He 
founded.  A  great  Church  calls  itself  by  His  name,  and  a 
mighty  kingdom,  known  as  Christendom,  owes  allegiance  to 
His  faith.  But  what  of  His  teaching?  He  said:  'Resist 
not  evil,'  yet  all  Christian  nations  maintain  standing  armies. 
He  said :  '  Lay  not  up  for  yourselves  treasures  upon  earth,' 
yet  the  wealthiest  men  are  Christian  men,  and  the  richest 
organisation Jn  the  world  is  the  Christian  Church.    He  said: 


THE   HOLY   ROMAN   EMPIRE  47 

'  Our  Father  who  art  in  Heaven,'  yet  men  who  ought  to 
be  brothers  are  divided  into  states,  and  hate  each  other  as 
enemies.  He  said :  '  Thy  kingdom  come.  Thy  will  be  done 
on  earth  as  it  is  done  in  Heaven,'  yet  he  who  believes  it 
ever  will  come  is  called  a  fanatic  and  a  fool.  He  said :  '  Give 
us  day  by  day  our  daily  bread,'  yet  Governments  tax  our  bread 
so  as  to  nullify  God's  gift,  and  give  to  the  few  the  soil  of  the 
earth  which  belongs  to  all !  " 

Some  murmurs  of  dissent  were  drowned  in  cries  of  "  Go 
on!"     "Speak!"     "Silence!" 

"  Is  Christ  Himself  at  fault,  brothers  ?  Has  the  world 
found  out  that  He  is  impossible?  Are  the  laws  of  life  too 
much  for  Him  ?  The  Teacher  of  the  past  is  lost  in  the  present, 
and  we  who  look  back  over  the  centuries  are  saying  with  the 
broken-hearted  woman  at  the  empty  tomb  of  her  Master: 
'  They  have  taken  my  Lord  away,  and  I  know  not  where  they 
have  laid  Him.'  " 

"Hush!"  "Silence!"  "Listen!"  "Let  him  speak!" 
"  Go  on !  " 

"  Foremost  and  grandest  of  the  teachings  of  Christ  are  two 
Inseparable  truths — the  fatherhood  of  God  and  the  brother- 
hood of  man.  But  in  Italy,  as  elsewhere,  the  people  are 
starved  that  king  may  contend  with  king,  and  when  we  appeal 
to  the  Pope  to  protest  in  the  name  of  the  Prince  of  Peace,  he 
remembers  his  temporalities  and  passes  on !  " 

At  these  words  the  emotion  of  the  crowd  broke  into  Ljud 
shouts  of  approval,  with  which  some  groans  were  mingled.  The 
company  on  the  balcony  were  moving  in  their  places. 

"  No  doubt  about  it,"  said  the  American.  "  This  is  one 
of  the  men  with  the  power  of  reaching  the  people." 

"Yes,  he  is  able  to  play  the  melodramatic  part  in  political 
affairs,"  said  the  Baron. 

Roma  had  turned  her  face  aside  from  the  speaker,  and 
her  profile  was  changed- — the  gay,  sprightly,  airy,  radiant  look 
had  given  way  to  a  serious,  almost  a  melancholy  expression. 
Something  in  David  Possi's  voice  had  opened  a  coll  in  her 
memory  which  had  been  long  sealed  up.  She  closed  her  eyes 
and  saw,  as  in  a  magic  mirror,  faces  and  scenes  which  she 
seemed  to  have  known  in  some  other  existence.  A  dark  house 
in  a  gloomy  city — the  air  outside  full  of  mist  and  snow — an 
old  mnn  kissing  her — herself  a  child — and  somebody  else  with  a 
voice  like  this.  .  .  .  But  a  faintness  came  over  her,  and  when 
she  heard  the  voice  again  it  was  a  long  way  off,  in  a  rumble  of 


4:8  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

other  sounds,  like  the  noises  that  come  through  the  vanishing 
fumes  of  an  anaesthetic. 

"  We  have  two  sovereigns  in  Rome,  brothers,  a  great  State 
and  a  great  Church,  with  a  perishing  people.  We  have  soldiers 
enough  to  kill  us,  priests  enough  to  tell  us  how  to  die,  but  no 
one  to  show  us  how  to  live." 

"  Corruption  !     Corruption  !  " 

"  Corruption  indeed,  brothers ;  and  who  is  there  among  us 
to  whom  the  corruptions  of  our  rulers  are  unknown?  Who  can- 
not point  to  the  wars  made  that  should  not  have  been  made?  to 
the  banks  broken  that  should  not  have  broken?  to  the  debts 
paid  that  should  not  have  been  contracted?  to  the  magistrates 
who  act  on  their  own  heads,  and  the  police  who  invent  plots  to 
give  themselves  the  credit  of  revealing  them?  Who  does  not 
know  of  the  Camorra  that  saves  great  criminals,  and  the  Mafia 
that  murders  honest  men?  And  who  in  Rome  cannot  point  to 
the  Ministers  who  allow  their  mistresses  to  meddle  in  public 
affairs  and  enrich  themselves  by  the  ruin  of  all  around  ?  " 

The  little  Princess  on  the  balcony  was  twisting  about. 

"  What !     Are  you  deserting  us,  Roma  ?  " 

And  Roma  answered  from  within  the  house,  in  a  voice  that 
sounded  strange  and  muffled : 

"  It  was  cold  on  the  balcony,  I  think." 

Then  the  little  Princess  laughed  a  bitter  laugh,  like  the 
laugh  of  the  creature  of  the  woods  that  laughs  at  night,  and 
David  Rossi  heard  it  and  misunderstood  it,  and  his  nostrils 
quivered  like  the  nostrils  of  a  horse,  and  when  he  spoke  again 
his  voice  shook  with  passion. 

"  Who  has  not  seen  the  splendid  equipages  of  these  privi- 
leged ones  of  fortune — their  gorgeous  liveries  of  scarlet  and 
gold — emblems  of  the  acid  which  is  eating  into  the  public 
organs?  Has  Providence  raised  this  country  from  the  dead 
only  to  be  dizzied  in  a  whirlpool  of  scandal,  hypocrisy,  and 
fraud — only  to  fall  a  prey  to  an  infamous  traffic  without  a  name 
between  high  officials  of  low  desires  and  women  whose  reputa- 
tions are  long  since  lost  ?  It  is  men  and  women  like  these  who 
destroy  their  country  for  their  own  selfish  ends.  Very  well;  let 
them  destroy  her,  but  before  they  do  so,  let  them  hear  what  one 
of  her  children  says:  the  government  you  are  building  up  on 
the  whitened  bones  of  the  people  shall  be  overthrown — the 
King  who  countenances  you,  and  the  Pope  who  will  not  con- 
demn you,  shall  be  overthrown,  and  then — and  not  till  then — 
will  the  nation  be  free." 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  49 

At  this  there  was  a  terrific  clamour.  The  square  resounded 
with  confused  voices.  "  Bravo !  "  "  Dog !  "  "  Dog's  murderer !  " 
"  Traitor !  "  "  Long  live  David  Rossi !  "  "  Down  with  the 
Vampire !  " 

The  ladies  had  fled  from  the  balcony  back  to  the  room  with 
cries  of  alarm.  "  There  will  be  a  riot."  "  The  man  is  inciting 
the  people  to  rebellion !  "  "  This  house  will  be  first  to  be  at- 
tacked !  " 

"  Calm  yourselves,  ladies.  Xo  harm  shall  come  to  you," 
said  the  Baron,  and  he  rang  the  bell. 

There  came  from  below  a  babel  of  shouts  and  screams. 

"  Madonna  mia !  What  is  that?  "  cried  the  Princess,  wring- 
ing her  hands;  and  the  American  Ambassador,  who  had  re- 
mained on  the  balcony,  said : 

"  The  Carabineers  have  charged  the  crowd  and  arrested 
David  Rossi." 

"  Thank  God !  " 

The  storm  of  noises  seemed  to  sweep  under  the  house  and 
down  a  gorge  which  deadened  it. 

"  They're  going  through  the  Borgo,"  said  Don  Camillo, 
"  and  kicking  and  cuffing  and  jostling  and  hustling  all  the 
Avay." 

"  Don't  be  alarmed !  There's  the  Hospital  of  Santo  Spirito 
round  the  corner,  and  stations  of  the  Red  Cross  Society  every- 
where," said  the  Baron,  and  then  Felice  answered  the  bell. 

"  See  our  friends  out  by  the  street  at  the  back,  Felice. 
Ciood-bye,  ladies!  Have  no  fear!  The  Government  does  not 
mean  to  blunt  the  weapons  it  uses  against  the  malefactors  who 
insult  the  doctrines  of  the  State." 

"  Excellent  Minister!  "  said  the  Princess.  "  Such  canaglia 
are  not  fit  to  have  their  liberty,  and  I  would  lock  them  all  up 
in  prison." 

And  then  Don  Camillo  offered  his  arm  to  the  little  lady 
with  the  white  plumes,  and  they  Came  almost  face  to  face  with 
Roma,  who  was  standing  by  the  door  hung  with  curtains,  fan- 
ning herself  with  her  handkerchief,  and  parting  from  tlie 
English  Ambassador. 

"  Donna  Roma,"  he  was  saying,  "  if  T  can  ever  be  of  use  to 
you,  either  now  or  in  the  future,  I  beg  of  you  to  command  me." 

Her  hand  in  his  was  qiiivering  like  a  captive  bird,  and  he 
thought  as  he  turned  away,  "  Yes,  there  is  a  strange  mixture 
of  heaven  and  earth  in  her,  and  God  knows  which  will  come 
out  top." 


no  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

"  Look  at  her !  "  whispered  the  Princess.  "  How  agitated 
she  is !  A  moment  ago  she  was  finding  it  cold  in  the  Loggia ! 
I'm  so  happy !  " 

At  the  next  instant  she  ran  up  to  Roma  and  kissed  her. 
"  Poor  child !  LIow  sorry  I  am !  You  have  my  sympathy,  my 
dear !  But  didn't  I  tell  you  the  man  was  a  public  nuisance, 
and  ought  to  be  put  down  by  the  police  ? " 

"  Shameful,  isn't  it,"  said  Don  Camillo.  "  Calumny  is  a 
little  wind,  but  it  raises  such  a  terrible  tempest." 

"  l^obody  likes  to  be  talked  about,"  said  the  Princess, 
"  especially  in  Kome,  where  it  is  the  end  of  everything." 

"  But  what  matter !  Perhaps  the  young  man  has  learned 
freedom  of  speech  in  a  free  country !  "  said  Don  Camillo. 

"  And  then  he  is  so  interesting  and  so  handsome,"  said  the 
Princess. 

Roma  made  no  answer.  There  was  a  slight  drooping  of  the 
lovely  eyes  and  a  trembling  of  the  lips  and  nostrils.  For  a 
moment  she  stood  absolutely  impassive,  and  then  with  a  flash 
of  disdain  she  flung  round  into  the  inner  room. 

Meantime,  the  American  Ambassador  and  his  wife  were 
saying  their  adieux  to  the  Baron. 

"  In  my  country,  your  Excellency,  we  don't  look  upon  popu- 
lar demonstrations  as  an  insult  to  the  powers  of  the  State." 

"  What  do  you  do,  dear  General  ?  " 

"  We  regard  them  as  you  regard  the  heiroglyphs  on  your 
obelisks,  as  so  many  writings  on  the  wall,  and  we  set  ourselves 
to  decipher  them." 

The  Baron  bowed  and  smiled  coldly.  Only  the  Minister  of 
War  remained.  His  sword-carved  face  looked  angular  and 
angry,  and  he  was  taking  up  his  hat  to  go. 

"  Perhaps  the  mission  of  the  twentieth  century  is  neither 
the  papacy's  nor  the  monarchy's,"  he  said.  "  These  anarchist 
outbreaks  are  like  the  fumaroles  on  Vesuvius,  through  which 
the  steam  escapes  with  a  whistle.  There  are  constant  rum- 
blings in  the  earth  and  nothing  will  grow  on  the  surface.  Why? 
Because  something  is  going  on  underneath." 

The  Baron  smiled  again  and  bowed  very  low. 

TX 

Roma  had  taken  refuge  in  the  council-room — a  room  whose 
three  walls  seemed  built  in  blocks  of  bkie-books,  while  the 
fciurth  was  open  to  the  square.     There  had  been  much  busi- 


THE   HOLY   ROMAN   EMPIRE  51 

ness  that  morning,  and  a  copy  of  the  constitutional  statute 
lay  open  on  a  large  table,  which  had  a  plate-glass  top  with  pho- 
tographs under  the  surface. 

In  this  passionless  atmosphere,  so  little  accustomed  to  such 
scenes,  Roma  sat  in  her  wounded  pride  and  humiliation,  with 
her  head  down,  and  her  beautiful,  white  hands  over  her  face. 
The  whole  earth  seemed  to  sink  under  her,  and  she  was  strug- 
gling to  keep  back  her  sobs.  It  was  like  the  Day  of  Judgment, 
and  her  doom  had  fallen  on  her  out  of  a  sky  of  cloudless  blue. 

She  heard  measured  footsteps  approaching,  and  then  a  hand 
touched  her  on  the  shoulder.  She  looked  up  and  drew  back  as 
if  the  touch  stung  her.  A  sudden  change  had  come  over  her 
beautiful  face,  and  the  violet  eyes  almost  seemed  as  if  they 
liad  bled.  Her  lips  closed  sternly,  and  she  got  iip  and  began 
to  walk  about  the  room,  and  then  she  burst  into  a  torrent  of 
anger. 

"  Did  you  hear  them  ?  The  cats  !  How  they  loved  to  claw 
me,  and  still  purr  and  purr!  Before  the  sun  is  set  the  story 
will  be  all  over  Rome !  It  has  run  off  already  on  the  hoofs  of 
that  woman's  English  horses.  She'll  drive  them  until  they 
drop,  taking  the  news  everywhere.  How  they'll  gloat  over  it 
in  their  tea-room  in  the  Corso — all  the  fantastic  old  Philemona 
and  the  faded  Baucises  who  have  been  jealous  of  me  for  yeai's! 
To-morrow  morning  it  will  be  in  every  newspaper  in  the  king- 
dom. Olga  and  Lena  and  every  woman  of  them  all  who  lives 
in  a  glass  house  will  throw  stones.  'The  new  Pompadour! 
Who  is  she? '     Oh,  I  could  die  of  vexation  and  shame!  " 

The  Baron  leaned  against  the  table  and  listened,  twisting 
the  ends  of  his  moustache. 

"  The  Court  will  turn  its  back  on  me  now.  They  only 
wanted  a  good  excuse  to  put  their  humiliations  upon  me.  The 
ostlers  and  grooms  who  call  themselves  Conti  and  Commeiida- 
tori,  and  the  little  antique  frights  who  have  grown  old  and  still 
try  to  fascinate  men — they'll  carry  their  ugly  necks  like 
gazelles  and  find  me  too  notorious !  It's  horrible !  I  can't  bear 
it.    I  won't.    I  tell  you,  I  won't !  " 

But  the  lips,  compressed  with  scorn,  began  to  quiver  visibly, 
and  she  threw  herself  into  a  chair,  took  out  her  handkerchief, 
and  hid  her  face  on  the  table. 

At  that  moment  Felice  came  into  the  room  to  say  that  the 
Commendatore  Angelelli  had  returned  and  wished  to  speak 
with  his  Excellency. 

"I  will  see  him  presently,"  said  the  Baron,  Avith   an   ini- 


.52  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

passive  expression,  and  Felice  went  out  silently,  as  one  who 
had  seen  nothing. 

The  Baron's  calm  dignity  was  wounded.  "  Be  so  good  as  to 
have  some  regard  for  me  in  the  presence  of  my  servants,"  he 
said.  "  I  understand  your  feelings,  but  you  are  much  too  ex- 
cited to  see  things  in  their  proper  light.  You  have  been  pub- 
licly insulted  and  degraded,  but  you  must  not  talk  to  me  as 
if  it  were  my  fault." 

"  Then  whose  is  it  ?  If  it  is  not  your  fault  whose  fault 
is  it?  "  she  said,  and  the  Baron  thought  her  red  eyes  flashed  up 
at  him  with  an  expression  of  hate.  He  took  the  blow  full  in  the 
face  but  made  no  reply,  and  his  silence  broke  her  answer. 

"  No,  no,  that  was  too  bad,"  she  said,  and  she  reached  over 
to  him  and  he  kissed  her,  and  then  sat  down  beside  her  and 
took  her  hand  and  held  it.  At  the  next  moment  her  brilliant 
eyes  had  filled  with  tears  and  her  head  was  down  and  the  hot 
drops  were  falling  on  to  the  back  of  his  hand. 

After  a  while  she  became  calmer,  but  with  the  calm  of  deso- 
lation, the  calm  after  the  cyclone,  when  the  world  is  a  waste 
where  there  had  once  been  a  garden  in  which  flowers  smiled 
and  the  grass  was  green. 

"  I  suppose  it  is  all  over,"  she  said. 

"  Don't  say  that,"  he  answered.  "  We  don't  know  what  a 
day  may  bring  forth.  Before  long  T  may  have  it  in  my  power 
to  silence  every  slander  and  justify  you  in  the  eyes  of  all." 

At  that  she  raised  her  head  with  a  smile  and  seemed  to  look 
beyond  the  Baron  at  something  in  the  vague  distance,  while 
the  glass  top  of  the  table,  which  had  been  clouded  by  her 
breath,  cleared  gradually,  and  revealed  a  large  house  almost 
liidd(m  among  trees.  It  was  a  photograph  of  the  Baron's  castle 
in  the  Alban  hills. 

"  Only,"  continued  the  Baron,  "  you  must  get  rid  of  that 
man  Bruno." 

"  I  will  discharge  him  this  very  dav — T  will !  I  will !  T 
will !  " 

There  was  an  intense  bitterness  in  the  thought  that  what 
David  Rossi  had  said  must  have  come  of  what  her  own  servant 
told  him — that  Bruno  had  watched  her  in  her  own  house  day  by 
day,  and  that  time  after  time  the  two  men  had  discussed  her 
between  them. 

"  I  could  kill  him,"  she  said. 

"  Bruno  Rocco  ?  " 

"  No,  David  Rossi." 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  53 

But  the  real  torment  came  of  the  thought  that  she  had 
been  so  near  to  loving  him — had  almost  raised  him  to  a  poetic 
height  of  adoration  in  her  own  eyes — when  he  had  disgraced 
and  degraded  her. 

"  Have  patience,  he  shall  be  punished,"  said  the  Baron. 

"How?" 

"  He  shall  be  put  on  his  trial." 

"What  for?" 

"  Sedition.  The  law  allows  a  man  to  say  what  he  will  about 
a  Prime  Minister,  but  he  must  not  foretell  the  overthrow  of 
the  King.  The  fellow  has  gone  too  far  at  last.  He  shall  go  to 
Santo  Stefano." 

"  What  good  will  that  do  ?  " 

"  He  will  be  silenced — and  crushed." 

She  looked  at  the  Baron  with  a  sidelong  smile,  and  some- 
thing in  her  heart,  which  she  did  not  understand,  made  her 
laugh  at  him. 

"  Do  you  imagine  you  can  crush  a  man  like  that  by  trying 
and  condemning  him  ? "  she  said.  "  He  has  insulted  and  hu- 
miliated me,  but  I'm  not  silly  enough  to  deceive  myself.  Try 
him,  condemn  him,  and  he  will  be  greater  in  his  prison  than 
the  King  on  his  throne." 

The  Baron  twisted  the  ends  of  his  moustache  again. 

"  Besides,"  she  said,  "  what  benefit  will  it  be  to  me  if  you 
put  him  on  trial  for  inciting  the  people  to  rebellion  against 
the  King?  The  public  will  say  it  was  for  insulting  yourself, 
and  everybody  will  think  he  was  punished  for  telling  the 
truth." 

The  Baron  continued  to  twist  the  ends  of  his  moustache. 

"  Benefit !  "  She  laughed  ironically.  "  It  will  be  a  double 
injury.  The  insult  will  be  repeated  in  public  again  and  again. 
First,  the  advocate  for  the  crown  will  read  it  aloud,  then  the 
advocate  for  the  defence  will  quote  it,  and  then  it  will  be  dis- 
cussed and  dissected  and  telegraphed  until  everybody  in  court 
knows  it  by  heart  and  all  Europe  has  heard  of  it." 

The  Baron  made  no  answer,  but  watched  the  beautiful  face, 
now  very  pale,  behind  which  conflicting  thoughts  seemed  to 
wriggle  like  a  knot  of  vipers-  Suddenly  she  leaped  up  with 
a  spring. 

"  I  know,"  she  cried,  "  I  know !     I  know !     I  know !  " 

"Well?" 

"  Give  the  man  to  me,  and  I  will  show  you  how  to  escai)e 
from  this  humiliating  situation." 


54  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

"  Eoma  ? "  said  the  Baron,  but  he  had  read  her  thought 
already. 

"  If  you  punish  him  for  this  speech  you  will  injure  both  of 
us  and  do  no  good  to  the  King." 

"  It's  true." 

"  Take  him  in  a  serious  conspiracy,  and  you  will  be  doing 
us  no  harm  and  the  King  some  service." 

"  No  doixbt." 

"  You  say  there  is  a  mystery  about  David  Rossi,  and  you 
want  to  know  who  he  is,  who  his  father  was,  and  where  he  spent 
the  years  he  was  away  from  Rome." 

"  I  would  certainly  give  a  good  deal  to  know  it." 

"  You  want  to  know  what  vile  refugee  in  London  filled  him 
with  his  fancies,  what  conspiracies  he  is  hatching,  what  secret 
societies  he  belongs  to,  and,  above  all,  what  his  plans  and 
schemes  are,  and  whether  he  is  in  league  with  the  Vatican." 

She  spoke  so  rapidly  that  the  words  sputtered  out  of  her 
quivering  lips. 

"  Well  ?  " 

"  Well,  I  will  find  it  all  out  for  you." 

"  My  dear  Roipa  !  " 

"  Leave  him  to  me,  and  within  a  month  you  shall  know  " — 
she  laughed,  a  little  ashamed — "  the  inmost  secrets  of  his  soul." 

She  was  walking  to  and  fro  again,  to  prevent  the  Baron 
from  looking  into  her  face,  which  was  now  red  over  its  white, 
like  a  rose  moon  in  a  stormy  sky. 

The  Baron  thought.  "  She  is  going  to  humble  the  man  by 
her  charms — to  draw  him  on  and  then  fling  him  away,  and  thus 
pay  him  back  for  what  he  has  done  to-day.  So  much  the  better 
for  me  if  I  may  stand  by  and  do  nothing.  A  strong  Minister 
should  be  unmoved  by  personal  attacks.  He  should  appear  to 
regard  them  with  contempt." 

He  looked  at  her,  and  the  brilliancy  of  her  eyes  set  his  heart 
on  fire.  The  terrible  attraction  of  her  face  at  that  moment 
stirred  in  him  the  only  love  he  had  for  her.  At  the  same  time 
it  awakened  the  first  spasm  of  jealousy. 

"I  understand  you,  Roma,"  he  said,  "you  are  splendid! 
You  are  irresistible!  But  remember — the  man  is  one  of  the  in- 
corruptible." 

She  laughed. 

"  No  woman  who  has  yet  crossed  his  path  seems  to  have 
touched  him,  and  it  is  the  pride  of  all  such  men  that  no  woman 
ever  can 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  55 

"  I've  seen  him,"  she  said. 

"  Take  care!    As  you  say,  he  is  young  and  handsome." 

She  tossed  her  head  and  laughed  again. 

The  Baron  thought :  "  Certainly  he  has  wounded  her  in  a 
way  no  woman  can  forgive." 

"  And  what  about  Bruno  ?  "  he  said. 

"  He  shall  stay,"  she  answered.  "  Such  men  are  easy 
enough  to  manage." 

"  You  wish  me  to  liberate  David  Rossi  and  leave  you  to  deal 
with  him  ? " 

"  I  do !  Oh,  for  the  day  when  I  can  turn  the  laugh  against 
him  as  he  has  turned  the  laugh  against  me !  At  the  top  of  his 
hopes,  at  the  height  of  his  ambitions,  at  the  moment  when  he 
says  to  himself,  '  It  is  done ' — he  shall  fall." 

The  Baron  touched  the  bell.  "  Very  well !  "  he  said.  "  One 
can  sometimes  catch  more  flies  with  a  spoonful  of  honey  than 
with  a  hogshead  of  vinegar.    We  shall  see." 

A  moment  later  the  Chief  of  Police  entered  the  room.  "  The 
Honourable  Rossi  is  safely  lodged  in  prison,"  he  said. 

"  Commendatorer"  said  the  Baron,  pointing  to  the  book 
lying  open  on  the  table,  "  I  have  been  looking  again  at  the 
statute,  and  now  I  am  satisfied  that  a  Deputy  can  be  arrested 
by  the  authorisation  of  Parliament  alone." 

"  But,  Excellency,  if  he  is  taken  in  the  act,  according  to  the 
forty-fifth  article,  the  parliamentary  immunity  ceases." 

"  Commendatore,  I  have  given  you  my  opinion,  and  now 
it  is  my  wish  that  the  Honourable  David  Rossi  should  be  set 
at  liberty." 

"  Excellency !  " 

"Be  so  good  as  to  liberate  him  instantly,  and  let  your 
officers  see  him  safely  through  the  streets  to  his  home  in  the 
Piazza  N^avona." 

The  little  head  like  a  hen's  went  down  like  a  hatchet,  and 
Commendatore  Angelelli  backed  out  of  the  room. 


The  great  clock  of  St.  Peter's  struck  twelve,  and,  at  the 
same  moment,  a  breeze  seemed  to  blow  under  the  house  with  a 
sound  such  as  comes  from  the  ground-swell  over  autumn  leaves. 
Roma  and  the  Baron  stepped  up  to  the  windows  and  looked  out 
on  the  piazza.    Under  the  sunlit  awning  of  the  great  balcony  of 


56  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

the  Basilica  a  small  figure  was  lifting  its  little  hands,  and 
spreading  its  white  sleeve-like  wings.  It  was  the  Pope  saluting 
the  new  century  and  blessing  all  the  nations  of  the  earth  in  one 
solemn  benediction.  His  face  could  not  be  discerned,  but  his 
voice  rose  like  a  bell  on  a  rock  at  sea  in  tones  of  warning,  sup- 
plication, and  love — 

••  2Iay  the  holy  Apostles  Peter  and  Paul,  in  whose  potver  and  au- 
thority we  confide,  intercede  for  us  to  the  hordr 

'■''Amen  !  " 

"And  may  tlie  blessing  of  Almighty  God  [f],  Father  [f],  Son  [f] 
and  Holy  G/iost  descend  upon  you  and  remain  with  you  forever.''^ 

"  Amen  /" 

The  human  waves  beneath  were  still.  Over  all  the  piazza, 
as  far  as  the  embracing  arms  of  the  colonnade,  the  people 
knelt,  without  noise,  and  only  the  flashing  forest  of  the  soldiers' 
bayonets  could  be  heard  when,  at  the  last  word  of  the  Bene- 
diction, the  rifles  clanged  on  the  pavement. 

The  silence  was  profound  and  awful.  All  the  noises  of  life 
had  ceased,  and  it  was  almost  as  if  the  world  were  trembling 
before  it  plunged  into  some  abyss. 

Then  the  mid-day  cannon  of  the  Castle  of  St.  Angelo 
boomed  out  over  the  city,  and  the  people  on  their  knees  clutched 
at  each  other  as  if  the  familiar  sound  had  been  the  voice  of  God 
on  the  Day  of  Judgment.  At  the  next  moment  the  bells  were 
ringing — first  the  great  bell  of  St.  Peter's,  and  then  all  the 
church  bells  of  the  city,  clashing  and  clanging  together. 

By  this  time  the  white  wings  under  the  sunlit  awning  were 
dropping  the  Bulls  from  the  great  balcony,  and  people  were 
struggling  for  the  slips  of  paper  as  they  fell.  Then  the  little 
figure  moved  away  with  its  huge  fans  on  either  side  of  it  and 
the  ordinary  life  of  the  world  was  resumed. 

Only  half  a  minute,  and  yet  it  seemed  as  if  for  that  period 
all  human  hearts  had  ceased  to  beat.  When  Roma  came  to 
herself  she  was  rising  from  her  knees,  and  the  Baron  was  in  the 
act  of  rising  beside  her.  He  rose  with  a  shamefaced  look,  and 
turning  to  Roma,  who  was  closing  her  astrachan  coat  to  go,  he 
took  hold  of  it  by  the  revers  and  began  to  fasten  it  over  her 
full  and  graceful  form.  The  joyous  smile  had  come  back  to 
her  face,  and  as  he  stood  in  front  of  her  he  reached  over  to  kiss 
her  again,  but  she  turned  her  head  aside  and  his  lips  only 
touched  her  cheek. 


THE  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE  57 

Then  she  laughed  and  took  his  arm,  and  he  saw  her  to  the 
carriage.  The  joy  of  life  and  motion  had  returned  to  her 
already,  and  she  walked  with  a  quick,  high-lifting  of  the  feet, 
as  if  the  wings  of  Mercury  were  under  her  ankles.  Going 
through  the  outer  room,  with  its  gilding  of  the  middle  ages, 
she  spoke  in  her  ordinary  cheery  way  to  the  servants. 

"  Good  day,  Felice !  "  and  Felice's  icy  smile  was  like  the 
glint  of  a  glacier. 

"  What  a  treasure  that  man  is !  Sees  nothing !  Must  have 
been  brought  up  in  the  Vatican  and  caught  the  manners  of  a 
Cardinal !  " 

"  You  shall  have  him  at  Trinita  de'  Monti  if  you  wish  it," 
said  the  Baron.  And  thus  they  passed  through  the  gloomy 
throne- room,  with  its  faded  arm-chair  turned  to  the  wall,  as  it 
had  been  since  the  days  when  the  crippled  old  banker  enter- 
tained Popes  and  dreamed  of  making  them. 

The  crowd  was  running  out  of  the  piazza  in  rivers  of  people 
on  foot,  irate  coachmen  were  shouting  to  Carabineers  on  horse- 
back, and  over  the  many  sounds  of  the  ebbing  tide  of  humanity 
were  heard  the  clashings  and  plungings  of  the  church  bells  in 
the  sunlit  air  above  the  city,  like  thunder  set  to  music.  It  was 
with  difficulty  that  the  porter  with  the  silver  mace  made  a  way 
to  the  carriage  that  stood  waiting  before  the  courtyard. 
.  Donna  Roma  sprang  up  to  her  place  and  sank  back  into  the 
blue  silk  cushions,  and  a  lackey  in  powdered  wig  brought  up 
the  dog  and  put  it  beside  her.  As  the  liveries  of  scarlet  and 
gold  disappeared  around  the  corner,  the  Baron  saw  a  white- 
gloved  hand  waving  to  him  with  a  quick  motion,  and  a  lovely 
face  smiling  as  behind  a  veil. 


PAET   TWO 

THE  REPUBLIC   OF  MAN 


The  Piazza  Navona  is  the  heart  and  soul  of  old  Rome.  In 
other  quarters  of  the  living  city  you  feel  tempted  to  ask:  "Is 
this  London?  "  or,  "  Is  this  Paris?  "  or,  "  Is  this  New  York  or 
Berlin? "  but  in  the  Piazza  Navona  you  can  only  tell  yourself, 
"This  is  Rome!" 

It  lies  like  a  central  spider  in  a  cobweb  of  little  streets,  and 
is  connected  with  the  main  thoroughfares  by  narrow  lanes 
which  have  iron  posts  across  their  entrances — relics  of  the 
troublous  times  when  it  was  necessary  to  chain  back  the  mob. 
One  might  regd  the  story  of  papal  Rome  in  the  volume  of  the 
Piazza  Navona  alone,  for  truly  the  stones  cry  out. 

One  end  of  the  Piazza  is  magnificent.  There  stands  the 
Braschi  Palace,  now  the  office  of  the  ^linistry  of  the  Interior, 
but  still  barred  across  its  lower  story.  Against  the  wall  of  the 
Braschi  leans  the  broken  trunk  of  the  Pasquin  statue,  whose 
glorious  loins  are  father  to  half  the  great  art  of  the  world. 
Near  to  both  stands  the  palace  of  the  Pamphili,  with  the  papal 
arms  on  its  doorpost,  and  every  stone  of  its  structure  cemented 
by  the  blood  of  the  Pope  who  gave  it  to  a  Jezebel  in  the  days  of 
his  strength,  and  was  repaid  on  the  day  of  his  death  by  an 
insult  to  his  dishonoured  corpse.  Next  to  the  Pamphili  stands 
the  Church  of  St.  Agnes,  built  of  splendid  marbles;  and  down 
the  middle  of  the  piazza  there  runs  a  line  of  three  fountains, 
which  culminate  in  an  obelisk,  on  which  a  dove  sits  with  the 
branch  of  promise  in  its  bill. 

But  the  deluge  is  rising  again  for  all  that,  and  out  of  the 
maze  of  streets  beyond,  where  fruit-stalls  stand  on  the  pave- 
ment, whore  the  washing  is  suspended  from  the  windows,  and 
where  bird-cages  hang  on  the  walls,  there  surges  up  from  the 
other  end  of  the  Navona  a  wave  of  indistinguishable  edifices — 
shops,  cafes,  arches,  apartment-houses — sweeping  away  one  by 
58 


THE  REPUBLIC   OP  MAN  59 

one  the  old  Roman  palaces,  with  their  broken  columns,  broken 
capitals,  broken  statuary,  and  broken  water-troughs,  as  well  as 
the  creeping  moss  and  trailing  vine  which  have  tried  for  cen- 
turies to  cover  their  gorgeous  ruin. 

In  one  of  these  modern  structures,  an  apartment-house 
nearly  opposite  to  the  obelisk  and  the  church,  David  Rossi  had 
lived  during  the  seven  years  since  he  became  Member  of  Parlia- 
ment for  Rome.  The  ground  floor  is  a  Trattoria,  half  eating- 
house  and  half  wine-shop,  with  rude  frescoes  on  its  distempered 
walls,  representing  the  Bay  of  Naples  with  Vesuvius  in  erup- 
tion. A  passage  running  by  the  side  of  the  Trattoria  leads 
to  the  apartments  overhead,  and  at  the  foot  of  the  staircase 
there  is  a  porter's  lodge,  a  closet  always  lighted  by  a  lamp, 
which  burns  down  the  dark  passage  day  and  night,  like  a 
bloodshot  eye. 

In  this  lodge  lived  a  veteran  Garibaldian,  in  his  red  shirt 
and  pork-pie  hat,  with  his  old  wife,  wrinkled  like  a  turkey,  and 
wearing  a  red  handkerchief  over  her  head,  fastened  by  a  silver 
pin.  David  Rossi's  apartments  consisted  of  three  rooms  on  the 
fourth  floor,  two  to  the  front,  the  third  to  the  back,  and  a  lead 
flat  opening  out  of  them  on  to  the  roof. 

In  one  of  the  front  rooms  on  the  afternoon  of  the  Pope's 
Jubilee,  a  young  woman  sat  knitting  with  an  open  book  on  her 
lap,  while  a  boy  of  six  knelt  by  her  side,  and  pretended  to 
learn  his  lesson.  She  was  a  comely  but  timid  creature,  with 
liquid  eyes  and  a  soft  voice,  and  he  was  a  shock-headed  little 
giant,  like  the  cub  of  a  young  lion. 

"  Go  on,  Joseph,"  said  the  woman,  pointing  with  her  knit- 
ting-needle to  the  line  on  the  page.  "  *  And  it  came  to 
pass  .  .  .'  " 

But  Joseph's  little  eyes  were  peering  first  at  the  clock  on 
the  mantel-piece,  and  then  out  at  the  window  and  down  the 
square. 

"  Didn't  you  say  they  were  to  be  here  at  two,  mamma  ?  " 

"  Yes,  dear.  Mr.  Rossi  was  to  be  set  free  immediately,  and 
papa,  who  ran  home  with  the  good  news,  has  gone  back  to  fetch 
him." 

"  Oh !  '  And  it  came  to  pass  afterward  that  he  loved  a 
woman  in  the  Valley  of  Sorek,  whose  name  was  Delilah  .  .  .' 
But,  mamma  .  .  ." 

"  Yes,  dear." 

"  Why  did  the  police  put  Uncle  David  in  prison  ?  " 

"  Because  he  is  a  good  man,  dear,  and  loves  the  people." 


60  THE   ETERNAL   CITY 

"  Oh ! " 

"  Go  on,  Joseph.     '  And  the  lords  of  the  Philistines  .  .  .'  " 

" '  And  the  lords  of  tlie  Philistines  came  up  unto  her,  and 
said  unto  her,  Entice  him  and  see  wherein  his  great  strength 
lieth  .  .  .'  But,  mamma,  didn't  you  say  the  police  put  people 
in  prison  for  doing  wrong  ?  " 

"  Go  on  with  your  lesson,  Joseph.  You've  made  me  lose  the 
place.    Where  were  we  ?    '  And  she  made  him  sleep  .  .  .'  " 

" '  And  she  made  him  sleep  upon  her  knees,  and  she  called 
for  a  man,  and  she  caused  him  to  shave  off  the  seven  locks  of 
his  head  .  .  .'  But,  mamma,  he  hasn't  got  his  head  shaved  off 
in  the  picture." 

The  big-headed  cub  rolled  over  to  the  window  to  look 
again  at  a  theatrical  poster  on  a  neighbouring  hoarding,  rep- 
resenting Samson,  blind  and  helpless,  in  the  house  of  his 
enemies. 

"  Joseph,  you  are  very  naughty  to-day.  Didn't  you  promise 
1()  learn  your  lesson  if  I  allowed  you  to  read  about  Samson  out 
of  TJncle  Eossi's  Bible?" 

But  at  that  moment  there  came  a  knock  at  the  door,  where- 
upon the  boy  uttered  a  cry  of  delight,  and  with  a  radiant  face 
went  plunging  and  shouting  out  of  the  room. 

"  Uncle  David !    It's  Uncle  David  !  " 

The  tumultuous  voice  rolled  like  baby  thunder  through  the 
apartment  until  it  reached  the  door,  and  then  it  dropped  to  a 
dead  silence. 

"  Who  is  it,  Joseph  ?  " 

"  A  gentleman,"  said  the  boy. 


II 

It  was  the  fashionable  young  Roman  with  the  watchful 
eyes  and  twirled-up  moustache,  who  had  stood  by  the  old 
Frenchman's  carriage  in  the  Piazza  of  St.  Peter. 

"  Pardon  me,  madam,"  he  said.  "  I  wish  to  speak  with  Mr. 
Bossi.  I  bring  him  an  important  message  from  abroad.  He  is 
coming  alf)ng  with  the  people,  but  to  make  sure  of  an  interview 
T  hurried  ahead.     ISlay  I  wait  ?  " 

"Certainly!  Come  in,  sir!  You  say  he  is  coming?  Yes? 
Then  he  is  free  ?  " 

The  woman's  liquid  eyes  were  glistening  visibly,  and  the 
man's  watchful  ones  seemed  to  notice  everything. 


THE  REPUBIJO   OP   MAN  T)! 

"  Yes,  madam,  he  is  free.  I  saw  him  arrested,  and  I  also 
saw  him  set  at  liberty." 

"  Really  ?  Then  you  can  tell  me  all  about  it  ?  That's  good ! 
I  have  heard  so  little  of  all  that  happened,  and  my  boy  and  I 
have  not  been  able  to  think  of  anything  else.     Sit  down,  sir !  " 

"  As  the  police  were  taking  him  to  the  station-house  in  the 
Borgo,"  said  the  stranger,  "  the  people  made  an  attempt  to 
rescue  him,  and  it  seemed  as  if  they  must  certainly  have  suc- 
ceeded if  it  had  not  been  for  his  own  intervention." 

"  He  stopped  them,  didn't  he?    I'm  sure  he  stopped  them !  " 

"  He  did.  The  delegate  had  given  his  three  warnings,  and 
the  Brigadier  was  on  the  point  of  ordering  his  men  to  tii'e, 
when  the  prisoner  threw  up  his  hands  before  the  crowd." 

"I  knew  it!    Well?" 

" '  Brothers,'  he  said,  '  let  no  blood  be  shed  for  my  sake. 
Let  no  mother  be  made  childless,  no  child  fatherless,  no  wife  a 
widow !    We  are  in  God's  hands.    Go  home ! '  " 

"  How  like  him !     And  then,  sir  ?  " 

"  Then  the  crowd  broke  up  like  a  bubble,  and  the  officer 
who  was  in  charge  of  him  uncovered  his  head.  '  Room  for  the 
Honourable  Rossi!'  he  cried,  and  the  prisoner  went  into  the 
prison." 

The  liquid  eyes  were  running  over  by  this  time,  and  the 
soft  voice  was  trembling:  "You  say  you  saw  him  set  at  lib- 
erty ?  " 

"Yes!  I  was  in  the  public  service  myself  until  lately,  so 
they  allowed  me  to  enter  the  police-station,  and  when  the  order 
for  release  came  I  was  present  and  heard  all.  '  Deputy,'  said 
the  officer,  '  I  have  the  honour  to  inform  you  that  you  are  free.' 
'  But  before  I  go  I  must  say  something,'  said  the  Deputy.  '  ^Fy 
only  orders  are  that  you  are  to  be  set  at  liberty,'  said  the  officer. 
'  Nevertheless,  I  must  see  the  Minister,'  said  Mr.  Rossi.  But 
the  crowd  had  pressed  in  and  surrounded  him,  and  in  a  moment 
the  flood  had  carried  him  out  into  the  street,  with  shouts  and 
the  waving  of  hats  and  a  whirlwind  of  enthusiasm.  And  now 
he  is  being  dra^vn  by  force  through  the  city  in  a  mad,  glad,  wild 
procession." 

"  But  he  deserves  it  all,  and  more — far,  far  more!  " 

The  stranger  looked  at  the  woman's  beaming  eyes,  and  said, 
"  You  are  not  his  wife — no  ?  " 

"  Oh,  no !  I'm  only  the  wife  of  one  of  his  friends,"  she 
answered. 

"  But  you  live  here  ?  " 


62  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

"  We  live  in  the  rooms  on  the  roof." 

"  Perhaps  you  keep  house  for  the  Deputy." 

"  Yes — that  is  to  say — ^yes,  we  keep  house  for  Mr.  Rossi." 

"  Of  course  you  admire  him  very  much  ? " 

"  Nobody  could  help  doing  that,  sir.  He  is  so  good,  so 
unselfish.  In  fact,  he  is  perfect — he  really  hasn't  a  fault.  He 
is  .  .  ." 

She  stopped,  for  something  in  the  man's  look  arrested  her. 

"  May  I  ask  what  your  husband's  name  is  ?  " 

"  Bruno  Rocco,  and  when  I  say  he  is  Mr.  Rossi's  friend,  sir, 
you  must  not  think  I  presume.  Perhaps  it  was  the  way  they 
met  first  that  made  them  such  close  comrades.  They  met  in 
prison." 

"  In  prison  ?  " 

"  I  mean  the  military  prison.  Mr.  Rossi  had  been  called  up 
for  military  service,  and  had  refused  to  serve,  so  they  sent  him 
to  the  Castle  for  punishment.  At  last  they  ordered  the  strait- 
waistcoat,  and  kept  him  for  forty-eight  hours  in  pain  and 
suffering  like  Christ.  He  never  uttered  a  word  or  a  moan,  but 
the  soldier  who  had  been  sent  to  torture  him — it  was  Bruno, 
I've  heard  him  tell  the  story — he  went  to  the  Captain  and  he 
said :  '  Captain,  I  can't  do  this  work  any  longer.'  *  Can't  you, 
now?  *  said  the  Captain,  taunting  him.  '  Then  perhaps  you  can 
do  the  other  man's  work  instead  ? '  '  Give  it  to  me  if  you  like,' 
said  Bruno;  'I'm  willing,  and  by  God  I'll  bear  it  better  than 
my  own. '  " 
'  "  And  they  did  ?  " 

"  They  did,  sir,  and  Bruno  and  Mr.  Rossi  were  side  by 
side.  Their  trouble  didn't  last  long,  though.  It  got  known 
outside,  and  there  was  a  great  agitation,  and  that  liberated 
both  of  them." 

"  Somebody  inside  the  Castle  must  have  told  the  story  ?  " 

"  I  did — I  was  laundress  in  the  barracks  then,  sir,  but  I  had 
to  leave  after  that,  and  mother  and  father,  who  had  lived  there 
since  I  can  remember,  were  turned  out  too.  It  didn't  matter  in 
the  end,  though.  I  married  Bruno  shortly  afterward  and  we 
came  to  keep  house  for  Mr.  Rossi,  and  then  he  persuaded  the 
landlord  to  take  father  as  porter  in  the  lodge  below." 

At  that  moment  the  room,  which  had  been  gloomy,  was 
suddenly  lighted  by  a  shaft  of  sunshine,  and  there  came  from 
some  unseen  place  a  musical  noise  like  the  rippling  of  waters 
in  a  fountain. 

"It's  the  birds,"  said   the  woman,  and  she  threw  open  a 


THE   REPUBLIC  OF  MAN  63 

window  that  was  also  a  door  and  led  to  a  flat  roof  on  which 
some  twenty  or  thirty  canaries  were  piping  and  shrilling  their 
little  swollen  throats  in  a  gigantic  bird-cage. 

"  Mr.  Eossi's  ?  " 

"  Yes,  and  he  is  fond  of  animals  also — dogs  and  cats  and 
rabbits  and  squirrels — especially  squirrels." 

"  Squirrels  ?  " 

"  He  has  a  grey  one  in  a  cage  on  the  roof  now.  But  he  is 
not  like  some  people  who  love  animals — he  loves  children,  too. 
He  loves  all  children,  and  as  for  Joseph  .  .  ." 

"  The  little  boy  who  cried  '  Uncle  David  '  at  the  door  ?  " 

"  Yes,  sir.  One  day  Bruno  said  '  Uncle  David '  to  Mr. 
Eossi,  and  he  has  been  Uncle  David  to  my  little  Joseph  ever 
since." 

"  Your  husband  and  Mr.  Eossi  are  not  very  much  alike, 
though,  are  they  ?  " 

"  They're  as  different  as  can  be,  sir — different  in  everything. 
Bruno  never  wore  a  collar,  not  to  speak  of  a  dress  coat,  while 
Mr.  Eossi  is  the  gentleman  through  and  through.  Then  Bruno 
is  manly  and  genial  and  kindly,  and  though  they  call  him  an 
anarchist,  the  only  explosions  he  makes  are  explosions  of 
laughter,  but  he  is  a  terrible  fighter  for  all  that,  and  he 
wouldn't  shrink  from  any  insult  he  could  hurl  at  a  foe,  whereas 
Mr.  Eossi  .  .  ." 

"Yes?" 

"  Mr.  Eossi  is  hasty  and  passionate,  but  he  couldn't  hate 
his  worst  enemy,  and  when  they  hurl  their  insults  at  him — 
'  They  hurt  nobody  but  myself,'  he  says." 

"  Meaning  by  that  ?  " 

"  That  he  has  no  wife  and  child  to  make  him  feel  them 
tenfold.     There's  one  person  he  can  never  forgive,  though." 

"Who  is  that?" 

"Himself;  and  if  he  thought  he  had  done  anybody  an  in- 
jury he  would  walk  barefoot  to  every  Basilica  in  the  city." 

Her  cheeks  were  flushed  and  her  timid  eyes  were  brave  and 
brilliant,  like  the  eyes  of  one  who  looks  on  the  sun  at  its  setting 
and  finds  it  bigger  and  brighter  and  more  glorious  for  the 
vapour  of  the  earth  through  which  he  sees  it. 

"  This  is  the  dining-room,  no  doubt,"  said  the  stranger  in 
his  chilling  voice. 

"Unfortunately,  yes,  sir." 

"  Why  unfortunately  ?  " 

"  Because  there  is  the  hall,  and  here  is  the  table,  and  tliere'^ 


64  THE   ETERNAL   CITY 

not  even  a  curtain  between,  and  the  moment  the  door  is  opened 
he  is  exposed  to  everybody.  People  know  it,  too,  and  they  take 
advantage.  He  would  give  the  chicken  off  his  plate  if  he 
hadn't  anything  else.  I  have  to  scold  him  a  little  sometimes 
— I  can't  help  it.  And  as  for  father,  he  says  he  has  doubled 
his  days  in  purgatory  by  the  lies  he  tells,  turning  people 
away." 

"  That  will  be  his  bedroom,  I  suppose,"  said  the  stranger, 
indicating  a  door  which  the  boy  had  passed  through. 

"  Xo,  sir,  his  sitting-room.  That  is  where  he  receives  his 
colleagues  in  Parliament,  and  his  fellow-journalists,  and  his 
electors  and  printers  and  so  forth.     Come  in,  sir." 

The  walls  were  covered  with  portraits  of  Mazzini,  Garibaldi, 
Jvossuth,  Lincoln,  Washington,  and  Cromwell,  and  the  room, 
which  had  been  furnished  originally  with  chairs  covered  in 
chintz,  was  loaded  with  incongruous  furniture. 

"  Joseph,  you've  been  naughty  again !  My  little  boy  is  all 
for  being  a  porter,  sir.  He  has  got  the  butt-end  of  his  father's 
fishing-rod,  you  see,  and  torn  his  handkerchief  into  shreds  to 
make  a  tassel  for  his  mace."  Then  with  a  sweep  of  the  arm, 
"  All  presents,  sir.  He  gets  presents  from  all  parts  of  the 
world.  The  piano  is  from  England,  but  nobody  plays,  so 
it  is  never  opened ;  the  books  are  from  Germany,  and  the 
bronze  is  from  France,  but  the  strangest  thing  of  all,  sir,  is 
this." 

"  A  phonograph  ?  " 

"  It  was  most  extraordinary.  A  week  ago  a  cylinder  came 
from  the  Island  of  Elba." 

"  Elba?    From  some  prisoner  perhaps?  " 

"  A  dying  man's  message,  Mr.  Rossi  called  it.  '  We  must 
save  up  for  an  instrument  to  reproduce  it,  Sister,'  he  said. 
But,  look  you,  the  very  next  day  the  carriers  brought  the  phono- 
graph." 

"  And  then  he  reproduced  the  message  ?  " 

"  I  don't  know — I  never  asked.  He  often  turns  on  a  cylin- 
der to  amuse  the  boy,  but  I  never  knew  him  try  that  one.  This 
is  the  bedroom,  sir — you  may  come  in." 

It  was  a  narrow  room,  very  bright  and  lightsome,  with  its 
white  counterpane,  white  bed  curtains,  and  white  veil  over  the 
looking-glass  to  keep  it  from  the  flies. 

"  How  sweet !  "  said  the  stranger. 

"  It  would  be  but  for  these,"  said  the  woman,  and  she 
pointed  to  the  other  end   of  the  room,  where   a   desk   stood 


THE   REPUBLIC   OF   MAX  65 

between  two  windows,  amid  heaps  of  unopened  newspapers, 
which  lay  like  fishes  as  they  fall  from  the  herring  net. 

"  I  presume  this  is  a  present  also  ?  "  said  the  stranger.  He 
had  taken  from  the  desk  a  dagger  with  a  lapis-lazuli  handle, 
and  was  trying  its  edge  on  his  finger-nail. 

"  Yes,  sir,  and  he  has  turned  it  to  account  as  a  paper-knife. 
A  six-chambered  revolver  came  yesterday,  but  he  had  no  use 
for  that,  so  he  threw  it  aside,  and  it  lies  under  the  news- 
papers." 

"  And  who  is  this  ?  "  said  the  stranger.  He  was  looking  at 
a  faded  picture  in  an  ebony  frame  which  hung  by  the  side  of  the 
bed.  It  was  the  portrait  of  an  old  man  with  a  beautiful  fore- 
head and  a  patriarchal  face. 

"  Some  friend  of  Mr.  Rossi's  in  England,  I  think." 

"  An  English  photograph,  certainly,  but  the  face  seems  to 
me  Roman  for  all  that.  Ah !  this  is  English  enough,  though," 
said  the  stranger.  He  had  taken  from  its  nail  a  similar  picture 
frame,  half  hidden  by  the  bed  curtain.  It  contained  a  small 
framed  manuscript,  such  as  in  old  times  devout  persons  drew 
up  as  a  covenant  with  God,  and  kept  constantly  beside  them. 

"  E[e  loves  England,  sir,  and  is  never  tired  of  talking  of  its 
glory  and  greatness.  He  loves  its  language,  too,  and  writes  all 
liis  private  papers  in  English,  I  believe." 

At  that  moment  a  thousand  lusty  voices  burst  on  the  air,  as 
a  great  crowd  came  pouring  out  of  the  narrow  lanes  into  the 
broad  piazza.  At  the  same  instant  the  boy  shouted  from  the 
adjoining  room,  and  another  voice  that  made  the  walls  vibrate 
came  from  the  direction  of  the  door. 

"  They're  coming !  It's  my  husband  !  Bruno !  "  said  the 
woman,  and  the  ripple  of  her  dress  told  the  stranger  she  had 
gone. 

He  stood  where  she  left  him,  with  the  little  ebony  picture 
frame  in  his  hand ;  and  while  the  people  in  the  street  sang  the 
Craribaldi  hymn,  and  came  marching  to  the  tune  of  it,  he  read 
the  words  that  were  written  in  English  under  cover  of  the 
glass : 

"  From  what  am  I  called  9 

From  the  love  of  riches,  from  the  love  of  honoiir,  from  the  love  of 
home,  and  from  the  love  of  irnman. 

To  what  am.  I  called  ? 

To  poverty,  to  purity,  to  obedience,  to  the  ivorship  of  God,  and  to  the 
service  of  humanity. 


QQ  THE   ETERNAL  CITY 

Why  am  I  called  ? 

Because  it  has  pleased  the  Almighty  to  make  me  friendless,  home- 
less, a  wanderer,  an  exile,  without  father  or  mother,  sister  or  brother, 
kith  or  kin. 

Hoping  my  heart  deceives  me  not,  with  fear  and  trembling  I  sign 
my  unworthy  name. 

D.  L. — London." 

Ill 

Laughing,  crying,  cheering,  chaffing,  singing,  David  Rossi's 
people  had  brought  him  home  in  triumph,  and  now  they  were 
crowding  upon  him  to  kiss  his  hand,  the  big-hearted,  baby- 
headed,  beloved  children  of  Italy. 

The  object  of  this  aurora  of  worship  stood  with  his  back 
to  the  table  in  the  dining-room,  looking  down  and  a  little 
ashamed,  while  Bruno,  six  feet  three  in  his  stockings,  hoisted 
the  boy  on  to  his  shoulder,  and  shouted  as  from  a  tower  to 
everybody  as  they  entered  by  the  door: 

"  Come  in,  sonny,  come  in !  Don't  stand  there  like  the 
Pope  betM'een  the  devil  and  the  deep  sea.  Come  in  among  the 
people,"  and  Bruno's  laughter  rocked  through  the  room  to 
where  the  crowd  stood  thick  on  the  staircase.  "  We've  given 
them  a  dose  to-day,  haven't  we  ?  Old  Angelelli  looked  as  green 
as  a  grasshopper.  See  him  ?  He  meant  to  pour  the  entire  penal 
code  on  the  master,  and  accuse  him  of  every  crime  in  Christen- 
dom. Robbing  a  safe,  high  treason,  high  fiddle-stick,  and 
Heaven  knows  what!  Tenfold  sentence  to  death,  loss  of  all 
rights  in  this  world  and  the  next,  and  the  scaffold  swindled 
because  he  has  only  one  head  to  sweep  off." 

"  The  Baron  has  had  a  lesson,  too,"  said  a  man  with  a  sheet 
of  white  paper  in  his  hand.  "He  dreamed  of  getting  the 
Collar  of  the  Annunziata  out  of  this." 

"  The  pig  dreamed  of  acorns,"  said  Bruno. 

"  But  he  knows  now  that  government  by  chief  of  police 
won't  work  as  well  as  government  by  Parliament." 

"  If  a  man  brings  wolves  into  the  house  with*  the  children 
he  must  expect  to  hear  them  cry,"  said  Bruno. 

"  It's  a  lesson  to  the  Church  as  well,"  said  the  man  with  the 
paper.  "  She  wouldn't  have  anything  to  do  with  us.  '  T  alone 
strike  the  hour  of  the  march,'  says  the  Church." 

"  And  then  she  stands  still !  "  said  Bruno. 

"  The  mountains  stand  still,  but  men  are  made  to  walk," 


THE   REPUBLIC   OP   MAN  f,7 

said  the  man  with  the  paper,  "  and  if  the  Pope  doesn't  advance 
with  the  people,  the  people  must  advance  without  the  Pope." 

"  The  Pope's  all  right,  sonny,''  said  Bruno,  "  but  what  does 
he  know  about  the  people  ?  Only  what  his  black-gowned  beetles 
tell  him!" 

"  The  Pope  has  no  wife  and  children,"  said  the  man  with  the 
paper. 

"  Old  Vampire  could  find  him  a  few,"  said  Bruno,  and  then 
there  was  general  laughter. 

"  Brothers,"  said  David  Rossi,  "  let  us  be  temperate. 
There's  nothing  to  be  gained  by  playing  battledore  and  shuttle- 
cock with  the  name  of  an  old  man  who  has  never  done  harm  to 
any  one.  The  Pope  hasn't  listened  to  us  to-day,  but  he  is  a 
saint  all  the  same,  and  his  life  has  been  a  lesson  in  well-doing." 

"  Anybody  can  sail  with  a  fair  wind,  sir,"  said  Bruno. 

"  What  has  happened  to-day,"  said  Rossi,  "  has  convinced 
me  that  the  people  have  no  helper  but  God,  and  no  justice  but 
His  law.  But  let  us  be  prudent.  There's  no  need  for  violence, 
whether  of  the  hand  or  of  the  tongue.  That  man  is  strongest 
who  is  strong  through  suffering  and  resignation.  You've  found 
that  out  this  morning.  If  you  had  rescued  me  from  the  police, 
I  shoidd  have  been  in  prison  again  by  this  time,  and  God  knows 
what  else  might  have  happened.  I'm  proud  of  your  patience 
and  forbearance;  and  now  go  home,  boys,  and  God  bless  you." 

"  Stop  a  minute !  "  said  the  man  with  the  paper.  "  Some- 
thing to  read  before  we  go.  While  the  Carabineers  kept  Mr. 
Rossi  in  the  Borgo  the  Committee  of  Direction  met  in  a  cafe 
and  drew  up  a  proclamation." 

"  Read  it,  Luigi,"  said  David  Rossi,  and  the  man  opened 
his  paper  and  read  : 

"  Having  appealed  in  vain  to  Parliament  and  to  the  King 
against  the  tyrannical  tax  which  the  Government  has  imposed 
upon  bread  in  order  that  the  army  and  navy  may  be  increased, 
and  having  appealed  in  vain  to  the  Pope  to  intercede  with  the 
Civil  authorities,  and  call  back  Italy  to  its  duty,  it  now  be- 
hoves us,  as  a  suffering  and  perishing  people,  to  act  on  our  own 
behalf.  Unless  annulled  by  royal  decree,  the  tax  will  come  into 
operation  on  the  first  of  February.  On  that  day  let  every 
Roman  remain  indoors  until  an  hour  after  Ave  Maria.  Let 
nobody  buy  so  much  as  one  loaf  of  bread,  and  let  no  bread  be 
eaten,  except  svich  as  you  give  to  your  children.  Then  at  the 
first  hour  of  night,  let  us  meet  in  the  Coliseum,  tens  of  thou- 
sands of  fasting  people,  of  one  mind  and  heart,  to  determine 


68  THE   ETERNAL   CITY 

what  it  is  our  duty  to  do  next,  that  our  bread  may  be  sure  and 
our  water  may  not  fail." 

"Good!"    "Beautiful!"    "Splendid!" 

"  Only  wants  the  signature  of  the  president,"  said  the 
reader,  and  Bruno  called  for  pen  and  ink. 

"  Before  I  sign  it,"  said  David  Rossi,  "  let  it  be  understood 
that  none  come  armed.    Is  that  a  promise?  " 

"  Yes,"  said  several  voices,  and  David  Rossi  signed  the 
paper. 

"  And  now,  brothers,"  said  Rossi,  taking  out  of  his  breast- 
pocket the  oblong  notebook  which  he  had  used  in  the  piazza, 
"  while  you  were  writing  in  the  cafe  I  was  wi'iting  in  the  cell, 
and  since  we  have  read  our  proclamation  we  will  also  read  our 
creed  and  charter." 

"  Good !  " 

"  I  call  it  that  because  our  enemies  are  telling  us  we  don't 
know  what  we  want  or  what  we  are  doing.  We  are  visionaries, 
dreamers,  millennarians,  and  religious  anarchists,  and  our 
vaporous  hallucinations  woidd  hurry  society  to  dissolution  and 
death !  " 

"  They  don't  understand  oiir  Latin,"  said  Bruno. 

"  Time  they  did,  Bruno,"  said  Rossi,  "  and  that's  why  I 
wrote  this  paper." 

"  Read  it,"  cried  many  A'oices,  and  David  Rossi  opened  his 
\)(H>\<.  and  read : 

"  '  The  Republic  of  Man.  Our  Creed  and  Charter.  Our 
Charter  is  the  Lord's  Prayer! '  " 

"  Good  again  !  "  cried  Bruno. 

"  They'll  tell  us  we've  got  the  sacred  sickness,  brothers,  but 
we'll  remind  them  that  revolutions  made  in  the  name  of  inter- 
est, of  politics,  of  parties,  and  of  imperialism  always  fail,  while 
revolutions  made  in  the  name  of  religion  may  drop  back,  but 
they  never  die  until  they  have  achieved  their  victory." 

"  God  doesn't  pay  wages  on  Saturday,  but  He  pays!  "  said 
Bruno,  and  then  the  company  composed  themselves  to  listen. 

"  '  The  Lord's  Prayer  contains  six  clauses. 

"'Three  of  these  clauses  concern  chiefly  the  S]nritual  life 
of  man,  lhe  other  three  concern  chiefly  the  temjioral  life 
of  man. 

"  '  The  Lord's  Prayer  says :    Ovr  Father  who  art  in  Heaven. 

"  '  Tf  God  is  the  father  of  all  men,  all  men  are  brothers,  and 
as  brothers  all  men  are  equal. 

"  '  Therefore,  all  authority  arrogated  by  man  over  man  is 


THE  REPUBLIC   OF   MAN  69 

wrong.     All  government  of  man  over  man  is  wrong.     Hence 
kings  have  no  right  to  exist. 

" '  If  all  men  are  brothers,  all  men  should  live  as  brothers. 
To  live  as  brothers  is  to  live  in  peace  and  concord. 

"  '  Therefore,  all  war  between  nation  and  nation  is  wrong. 
Hence  armies  have  no  right  to  exist.  National  frontiers  have 
no  right  to  exist.  The  national  spirit  which  is  called  patriot- 
ism has  no  right  to  exist. 

"'The  Lord's  Prayer  says:  Give  us  this  day  our  daily 
bread. 

"  '  Our  daily  bread  comes  from  the  land.  No  man  made  the 
land.  It  is  God's  gift  to  mankind.  It  belongs  to  all  men. 
Therefore,  individual  ownership  of  land  is  wrong.  Individual 
control  of  the  fruits  of  the  land  is  wrong. 

"'The  Lord's  Prayer  says:  Thy  Kingdom  come;  Thy  will 
he  done  in  earth  as  it  is  done  in  Heaven. 

"  '  If  we  may  pray  Thy  Kingdom  come,  we  may  expect  it  to 
come.  If  God's  Kingdom  is  not  to  come  on  earth  as  it  is  in 
Heaven,  if  it  is  only  a  dream,  then  the  Lord's  Prayer  is  a  de- 
lusion, a  cruel  mockery,  and  a  betrayal  of  the  hearts  and  hopes 
of  the  human  family !  '  " 

"  Right !  "  "  Good !  "  "  Bravo !  "  "  That  will  give  them 
something  to  think  about ! "  And  the  man  who  read  the 
proclamation  said,  "  The  Church  has  spent  centuries  over  the 
theology  of  the  Lord's  Prayer — time  she  began  to  think  of  its 
sociology  also." 

"  That's  our  Charter  as  I  see  it,  gentlemen,"  said  David 
Rossi,  "  and  now  for  the  Creed  we  deduce  from  it." 

"Hush!    Silence!" 

"  '  We  believe  that  the  source  of  all  right  and  all  power  is 
God. 

"  '  We  believe  that  Government  exists  to  secure  to  all  men 
equally  the  natural  rights  to  whi«h  .they  are  born  as  sons 
of  God. 

"  '  We  believe  that  all  governments  must  derive  their  power 
from  the  people  governed. 

" '  We  believe  that  no  artificial  differences  among  men  can 
constitute  a  basis  of  good  government. 

"  '  We  believe  that  when  a  government  is  destructive  of  the 
natural  rights  of  man  it  is  man's  duty  to  destroy  it.'  " 

"  Bravo !  "  came  in  many  voices,  and  there  was  some  clap- 
ping of  hands,  but  without  any  change  of  tone  David  Rossi 
went  on  reading: 


70  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

" '  We  believe  that  all  forms  of  violence  are  contrary  to  the 
spirit  of  God's  law. '  " 

"Ah!" 

"  '  We  believe  that  prayer  and  protest  are  the  only  weapons 
of  warfare  which  humanity  may  use — prayer  addressed  to  God, 
protest  addressed  to  man. 

" '  We  believe  that  they  are  the  most  effectual  weapons 
humanity  has  ever  used  against  the  evils  of  the  world. 

"  '  We  believe  that  they  are  the  only  weapons  used  or  coun- 
tenanced by  Christ. 

" '  We  believe  that  where  they  do  not  take  effect  in  them- 
selves they  take  double  effect  in  suffering.' " 

"Ah!" 

"  '  We  believe  .  .  .'  " 

"  ^o  !  "  "  Yes  !  "  "  It's  a  long  game,  though !  "  "  Hush  !  " 
"  Go  on,  sir!  " 

"  '  We  believe  that  it  is  the  duty  of  all  men  to  use  the 
Lord's  Praj'er,  to  believe  in  it,  to  live  according  to  its  light, 
and  to  protest  against  everything  which  is  opposed  to  its 
teaching. 

" '  We  believe  this  is  the  only  way  man  can  help  to  bring  to 
pass  the  Kingdom  of  God  on  earth  as  it  is  in  Heaven. 

" '  Therefore  in  the  sure  and  certain  hope  of  that  kingdom 
— by  the  love  we  bear  to  the  brothers  whom  God  has  given  us — 
by  the  hate  we  feel  for  injustice  and  wrong — by  the  memory 
of  the  martyrs — by  the  sufferings  of  the  people — we  dedicate 
ourselves  as  subjects  and  servants  of  the  Republic  of  Man. 

" '  And  to  its  Creed  and  Charter  we  hereto  subscribe  our 
names,  in  the  name  of  Him  who  taught  us  to  pray: 

"  '  Our  Father  who  art  in  Heaven — 

"  '  Hallowed  be  Thy  name — 

"  '  Thy  Kingdom  come — Thy  will  be  done  in  earth  as  it  is  in 
Heaven — 

"  '  Give  us  this  day  our  daily  bread — 

"'And  forgive  «s  our  trespasses  as  ive  forgive  tfiem  that  trespass 
against  us. 

"  '  A7id  lead  us  not  into  temptation,  but  deliver  us  from  evil.'  " 

"  Amen !  "  said  the  coiVipany,  fifty  voices  at  once. 

"  That  is  our  idea  as  I  understand  it,"  said  David  Rossi, 
"  so  I've  signed  my  name  to  it,  and  those  who  agree  with  me 
may  do  the  same.  And  as  grand  results  may  flow  from  trivial 
causes,  the  Republic  of  Man  from  this  day  forward  will  be 


THE  REPUBLIC   OF   MAN  Yl 

a  reality,  and  not  a  dream,  watching  parliaments,  discussing 
measures,  taking  up  the  defence  of  prisoners  and  demanding 
justice  for  the  oppressed,  until  without  a  throne  or  legal  title 
it  holds  a  sovereign  power  throughout  the  world,  stronger  than 
any  sceptre  on  earth." 

With  that  he  tore  out  of  his  notebook  a  leaf  covered  on  one 
side  with  the  most  delicate  characters,  and  in  a  moment  there 
was  a  movement  toward  the  table. 

"  Great,  sir !  Great !  "  said  the  man  who  had  read  the 
proclamation.  "  They'll  say  we're  setting  up  a  new  church, 
though." 

"  There's  room  for  one  between  the  Vatican  and  the 
Quirinal,"  said  Bruno. 

"  A  big  church,  too,"  said  the  man.  "  The  church  outside 
the  churches." 

"  Old  Vampire  will  have  something  else  to  think  of  besides 
his  dear  little  Donna  Romas  when  he  gets  hold  of  this,"  said 
somebody,  and  again  there  was  general  laughter. 

As  the  men  signed  the  paper  they  passed  out  of  the  apart- 
ment, laughing  and  talking,  and  their  voices  died  away  in 
drumming  sounds  down  the  staircase.  When  it  came  to 
Bruno's  turn  he  put  the  boy  to  stand  on  the  table. 

"  Here  goes !  "  he  said.  "  Every  kick  sends  the  ass  on,"  and 
with  his  tongue  in  his  cheek  he  signed  his  name  in  letters  as 
shapeless  as  an  old  shoe. 

There  was  only  one  man  left.  It  was  the  fashionable  young 
Roman  with  the  watchful  eyes  and  twirled-up  moustache.  He 
took  up  the  pen  last,  and  signed  "  Charles  Minghelli." 

David  Rossi  looked  at  him  and  read  the  name  he  had  writ- 
ten. 

"  For  you,  sir !  "  said  the  yovmg  man,  taking  a  letter  from 
a  pocket  inside  his  waistcoat. 

David  Rossi  opened  the  letter  and  read :  "  The  bearer  of 
this  is  one  of  ourselves.  He  has  determined  upon  the  accom- 
plishment of  a  great  act,  and  wishes  to  see  you  with  respect 
to  it." 

"  You  come  from  London  ?  " 

"  Yes,  sir." 

"  You  wish  to  speak  to  me  ?  " 

"  I  do." 

"  You  may  speak  freely." 

The  young  man  glanced  in  the  direction  of  Bruno  and  of 
Bruno's  wife,  who  stood  beside  him. 


72  TPIE  ETERNAL   CITY 

"  It  is  a  delicate  matter,  sir,"  he  said. 

"  Come  this  way,"  said  David  Kossi,  and  he  took  the 
stranger  into  his  bedroom. 

IV 

David  Rossi  took  his  seat  at  the  desk  between  the  windows, 
and  made  a  sign  to  tlie  man  to  take  a  chair  that  stood  near. 
Tlie  man  was  something  of  a  dandy,  and  as  he  sat  down  he 
pulled  up  his  trousers  at  the  knees,  stretched  his  arms  to  shoot 
out  his  cuflFs,  and  threw  vip  his  neck  to  adjust  his  collar. 

"  Your  name  is  Charles  Minghelli  ? "  said  David  Rossi. 

"  Yes.    I  have  come  to  propose  a  dangerous  enterprise." 

"  What  is  it  ?  " 

"  That  somebody  on  behalf  of  the  people  should  take  the 
law  into  his  own  hands." 

The  man  had  spoken  with  perfect  calmness,  and  after  a 
moment  of  silence  David  Rossi  replied  as  calmly: 

"  I  will  ask  you  to  exi)lain  Avhat  you  mean." 

The  man  smiled,  made  a  deferential  gesture,  and  answered, 
"  You  will  permit  me  to  speak  plainly  ?  " 

"  Certainly." 

"  Thanks !  I  have  heard  your  Creed  and  Charter.  I  have 
even  signed  my  name  to  it.  It  is  beautiful  as  a  theory — most 
beautiful !  And  the  Republic  of  Man  is  beautiful  too.  It  is 
like  one  of  the  associations  of  the  early  Church,  a  state  within 
a  state,  the  real  government,  the  real  constitution,  without 
authority,  without  crowns,  without  armies,  yet  intended  to  rule 
the  world  by  the  voluntary  allegiance  of  mankind.  Beautiful !  " 

"Well?" 

"  But  more  beautiful  than  practical,  dear  sir,  and  the  ideal 
tliread  that  runs  through  your  plan  will  break  the  moment  the 
rough  world  begins  to  tug  at  it." 

"  I  will  ask  you  to  be  more  precise,"  said  David  Rossi. 

"  With  pleasure.  You  have  proclaimed  a  meeting  in  the 
Coliseum  to  protest  against  the  bread-tax.  What  if  the  Gov- 
ernment prohibits  it?  Your  principle  of  passive  resistance 
will  not  permit  you  to  rebel,  and  without  the  right  of  public 
meeting  your  association  is  powerless.    Then  where  are  you  ?  " 

David  Rossi  had  taken  up  his  paper-knife  dagger  and  was 
drawing  lines  with  the  ]ioint  of  it  on  the  letter  of  introduction 
which  nf)w  lay  open  on  the  desk.  The  man  saw  the  impression 
he  had  produced,  and  went  on  with  more  vigour. 


THE  REPUBLIC  OF  MAN  73 

"  One  of  your  people  said  you  would  be  accused  of  setting 
up  a  new  church,  but  while  I  listened  to  you,  dear  sir,  I  thought 
I  could  hear  one  of  the  Fathers  of  the  old  faith  teaching  over 
again  the  fatal  resignation  of  Catholicism.  He  who  suffers  is 
stronger  than  he  who  fights !  Obey  the  lawful  authorities !  Be 
subject  to  the  higher  powers !  Render  unto  Csesar  the  things 
which  are  Caesar's !  Tribute  to  whom  tribute  is  due !  Custom 
to  whom  custom!  Fear  to  whom  fear.  That  has  been  the 
doctrine  of  the  Catholic  Church  for  ages.  And  what  has  it 
brought  the  Church  to?  To  what  it  is  in  Rome  to-day — a 
butterfly  whose  body  has  been  eaten  away  by  spiders,  leaving 
nothing  but  the  beautiful,  useless,  powerless  wings !  " 

David  Rossi  had  put  down  the  dagger,  and  was  listening 
with  closed  eyes.  The  man  watched  the  quivering  of  his  eye- 
lids, smiled  slightly,  and  continued: 

"  If  the  governments  of  the  world  deny  you  the  right  of 
meeting,  where  are  your  weapons  of  warfare?  What  is  the 
battering-ram  with  which  you  are  going  to  make  your  breach  in 
the  world's  Porta  Pia?  On  the  one  side  armies  on  armies  of 
men  marshalled  and  equipped  with  all  the  arts  and  engines  of 
war;  on  the  other  side  a  helpless  multitude  with  their  hands  in 
their  pockets,  or  paying  a  penny  a  week  subscription  to  the 
great  association  that  is  to  overcome  by  passive  suffering  the 
power  of  the  combined  treasuries  of  the  world !  " 

David  Rossi  had  risen  from  his  seat,  and  was  walking  back- 
ward and  forward  with  a  step  that  was  long  and  slow. 

"  Well,  and  what  do  you  say  we  ought  to  do  ? "  he  said. 

"  Cease  to  abandon  ourselves  to  the  caprices  of  a  tyrant,  and 
assert  the  rights  of  man,"  said  the  stranger. 

"  In  what  way  are  the  people  of  Rome  to  assert  the  rights 
of  man  ? "  said  David  Rossi. 

"  The  people  of  Rome — I  didn't  say  that.  We  know  what 
the  Romans  are.  Patient  ?  Yes — the  only  virtue  of  the  ass ! 
Peaceful?  N'o  doubt — or  they  would  have  been  suffocated  long 
ago  in  this  police-ridden  state.  They  are  like  their  climate — 
the  scirocco  is  in  their  bones,  and  they  have  nerve  for  nothing. 
Somebody  must  act  for  them.  Somebody  like  you,  who  has 
come  back  to  the  old  world  nerved  and  refreshed  by  the 
bracing  airs  of  freedom  which  blow  across  the  new — one  of  the 
great  souls  who  are  beacons  on  the  path  of  humanity  .  .  ." 

"  Be  definite — what  are  we  to  do? "  said  David  Rossi. 

A  flash  came  from  the  man's  eyes,  and  he  said  in  a  thick 
voice : 

6 


74  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Remove  the  one  man  in  Rome  whose  hand  crushes  the 
nation." 

"The  Prime  Minister?" 

"  Yes." 

There  was  silence. 

"  You  expect  me  to  do  that  ?  " 

"  No !  I  will  do  it  for  you.  .  .  .  Why  not  ?  If  violence  is 
wrong  it  is  right  to  resist  violence." 

David  Rossi  returned  to  his  seat  at  the  desk,  touched  the 
letter  of  introduction,  and  said : 

"  That  is  the  great  act  referred  to  in  this  letter  from  Lon- 
don ? " 

"  Yes.  It  isn't  pretty,  is  it  ?  But  don't  think  I'm  mad. 
I  know  what  I'm  saying.  I  have  thought  of  this  plan  and 
brooded  over  it,  until  it  has  attained  a  gigantic  power  over  me 
and  become  stronger  than  myself." 

David  Rossi  turned  full  round  on  the  man. 

"  Why  do  you  come  to  me  ?  "  he  said. 

"  Because  you  can  help  me  to  accomplish  this  act.  You 
are  a  Member  of  Parliament,  and  can  give  me  cards  to  the 
Chamber.  You  can  show  me  the  way  to  the  Prime  Minister's 
room  in  Monte  Citorio,  and  tell  me  .the  moment  when  he  is  to 
be  found  alone." 

David  Rossi's  face  was  pale,  but  when  he  spoke  his  voice 
was  calm — with  the  calmness  of  a  frozen  lake  that  has  a  river 
running  underneath. 

"  I  do  not  deny  that  the  Prime  Minister  deserves  death." 

"  A  thousand  deaths,  sir,  and  everybody  would  hail  them 
with  delight." 

"  I  do  not  deny  that  his  death  would  be  a  blessing  to  the 
people." 

"  On  the  day  he  dies,  sir,  the  people  will  live." 

"  Or  that  crimes — great  crimes — have  been  the  means  of 
bringing  about  great  reforms." 

"  You  are  right,  sir — but  it  would  be  no  crime." 

"  Nor  should  I  say  that  to  take  the  life  of  a  tyrant  is  to  be 
guilty  of  murder." 

"  Oh,  they  knew  what  they  were  doing  when  they  sent  me 
to  you,  sir." 

David  Rossi  spoke  calmly  but  with  great  earnestness. 

"  The  man,"  he  said,  "  who  goes  openly  into  the  presence 
of  the  oppressor  and  kills  him  face  to  face,  then  stands  to  be 
arrested  or  torn  in  pieces,  takes  his  trial,  pleads  guilty,  says, 


THE  REPUBLIC  OP  MAN  Y5 

'  I  did  not  kill  the  Baron  Bonelli,  I  killed  the  Prime  Minister ; 
I  did  not  kill  the  man,  I  killed  the  institution;  condemn  me, 
hang  me,  shoot  me,  bury  me  alive,  intomb  me  in  a  cell  not 
much  bigger  than  a  coffin,  where  I  shall  see  no  human  face,  and 
hear  no  human  voice,  I  am  content;  I  await  the  coming  revo- 
lution ' — let  the  world  call  him  what  it  will,  madman,  fanatic, 
fool — that  man  needs  some  other  name  than  assassin." 

The  stranger's  face  flushed  up,  his  eyes  seemed  to  burn,  and 
he  leaned  over  to  the  desk  and  took  up  the  dagger. 

"  See !  Give  me  this !  It's  exactly  what  I  want.  I'll  put 
it  in  a  bouquet  of  flowers,  and  pretend  to  offer  them.  Only  a 
way  to  do  it,  sir !    Say  the  word — may  I  take  it  ?  " 

"  But  the  man  who  assumes  such  a  mission,"  said  David 
Rossi,  "  must  know  himself  free  from  every  thought  of  personal 
vengeance." 

The  dagger  trembled  in  the  stranger's  hand. 

"  He  must  be  prepared  to  realise  the  futility  of  what  he 
has  done — to  know  that  even  when  he  succeeds  he  only  changes 
the  persons  not  the  things,  the  actors  not  the  parts.  And  when 
he  fails  he  must  be  prepared  to  find  that  wounded  tyranny 
has  no  mercy,  and  threatened  despotism  has  tightened  its 
chains." 

The  man  stood  like  one  who  has  been  stunned,  with  his 
mouth  partly  open,  and  balancing  the  dagger  on  one  hand. 

"  More  than  that,"  said  David  Rossi,  "  he  must  be  prepared 
to  be  told  by  every  true  friend  of  freedom  that  the  man  who 
uses  force  is  not  worthy  of  liberty — that  the  conflict  of  intel- 
lects alone  is  human,  and  to  fight  otherwise  is  to  be  on  the  level 
of  the  brute — that  we  are  men,  and  that  the  human  weapon 
is  the  brain,  not  the  claws  and  the  teeth,  and  that  all  victories 
other  than  the  victories  of  the  brain  and  heart  are  barbarous 
and  bestial — shed  around  them  what  halo  you  will." 

The  man  threw  the  dagger  back  on  the  desk  and  laughed. 

"  I  knew  you  talked  like  that  to  the  people — statesmen  do 
sometimes — that's  all  right — it's  pretty,  and  it  keeps  the  peo- 
ple quiet — but  we  know  .  .  ." 

David  Rossi  rose  with  a  sovereign  dignity,  but  he  only 
said: 

"  Mr.  Minghelli,  our  interview  is  at  an  end." 

A  change  had  come  over  the  face  of  the  stranger,  and  the 
watchful  eyes  now  wore  a  ferocious  expression.  But  he  only 
flipped  a  speck  of  dust  off  his  coat,  and  said : 

"  So  you  dismiss  me  ?  " 


Y6  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

David  Eossi  bowed  in  silence.  The  man  gave  a  furious  side- 
glance  and  stepped  to  the  door. 

"  Now  that  you  know  what  I  am,  perhaps  you  will  scratch 
my  name  off  your  Creed  and  Charter,  and  tell  them  in  London 
to  turn  me  out  of  their  brotherhood  ?  " 

"  You  turn  yourself  out,  sir.  You  have  nothing  in  common 
with  the  people,  and  have  no  right  to  be  among  them." 

The  man's  profile  at  the  door  was  frightful. 

"  It  is  such  men  as  you,"  said  David  Rossi,  "  who  put 
back  the  progress  of  the  world  and  make  it  possible  for  the 
upholders  of  authority  to  describe  our  efforts  as  devilish 
machinations  for  the  destruction  of  all  order,  human  and  di- 
vine. Besides  that,  you  speak  as  one  who  has  not  only  a 
perverted  political  sentiment,  but  a  personal  quarrel  against 
an  enemy." 

The  man  faced  around  sharply,  came  back  with  a  quick  step, 
and  said: 

"  You  say  I  speak  as  one  who  has  a  personal  quarrel  with 
the  Prime  Minister.  Perhaps  I  have!  I  heard  your  speech 
this  morning  about  his  mistress,  with  her  livery  of  scarlet  and 
gold.  You  meant  the  woman  who  is  known  as  Donna  Roma 
Volonna.  What  if  I  tell  you  she  is  not  a  Volonna  at  all,  but 
a  girl  the  Minister  picked  up  in  the  streets  of  London,  and  has 
palmed  off  on  Rome  as  the  daughter  of  a  noble  house,  because 
he  is  a  liar  and  a  cheat  ? " 

David  Rossi  gave  a  start,  as  if  an  invisible  hand  had  smit- 
ten him  in  the  face. 

"  Her  name  is  Roma,  certainly,"  said  the  man,  with  a  flash 
in  his  eyes,  "  that  was  the  first  thing  that  helped  me  to  seize 
the  mysterious  thread." 

David  Rossi's  face  grew  pale,  and  he  scarcely  breathed. 

"  Oh,  I'm  not  talking  without  proof,"  said  the  man,  seeing 
that  his  words  went  home.  "  I  was  at  the  Embassy  in  London 
ten  years  ago  when  the  Ambassador  was  consulted  by  the 
police  authorities  about  an  Italian  girl,  who  had  been  found 
at  night  in  Leicester  Square.  Mother  dead,  father  gone  back 
to  Italy — she  had  been  living  with  some  people  her  father  gave 
her  to  as  a  child,  but  had  turned  out  badly  and  run  away." 

David  Rossi  had  fixed  his  eyes  on  the  stranger  with  a  kind 
of  glassy  stare. 

"  I  went  with  the  Ambassador  to  Bow  Street,  and  saw  the 
girl  in  the  magistrate's  ofiice.  She  pleaded  that  she  had  been 
ill-treated,  but  we  didn't  believe  her  story,  and  gave  her  back 


THE   REPUBLIC   OF   MAN  77 

to  her  guardians.  A  month  later  we  heard  that  she  had  run 
away  once  more  and  disappeared  entirely." 

David  Rossi  was  breathing  audibly,  and  shrinking  like  an 
old  man  into  his  shoulders. 

"  I  never  saw  that  girl  again  until  a  week  ago,  and  where 
do  you  think  I  saw  her  ?  " 

David  Rossi  swallowed  his  saliva,  and  said : 

"Where?" 

"  In  Rome.  I  had  trouble  at  the  Embassy,  and  came  back 
to  appeal  to  the  Prime  Minister.  Everybody  said  I  must  reach 
him  through  Donna  Roma,  and  one  of  my  relatives  took  me  to 
her  rooms.  The  moment  I  set  eyes  on  her  I  knew  who  she 
was.  Donna  Roma  Volonna  is  the  girl  Roma  Roselli,  who  was 
lost  in  the  streets  of  London." 

David  Rossi  seemed  suddenly  to  grow  taller. 

"  You  scoundrel !  "  he  said,  in  a  voice  that  was  hollow  and 
choked. 

The  man  staggered  back  and  stammered : 

"Why  .  .  .  what  .  .  ." 

"  I  knew  that  girl." 

"  You  knew  ..." 

"  Until  she  was  seven  years  of  age  she  was  my  constant 
companion — she  was  the  same  as  my  sister — and  her  father 
was  the  same  as  my  father — and  if  you  tell  me  she  is  the 
mistress  .  .  .  You  infamous  wretch !  You  calumniator !  You 
villain !  I  could  confound  you  with  one  word,  but  I  won't. 
Out  of  my  house  this  moment.  And  if  ever  you  cross  my 
path  again  I'll  denounce  you  to  the  police  as  a  cut-throat  and 
an  assassin." 

Stunned  and  stupefied,  the  man  opened  the  door  and  fled. 


"  By  the  Holy  Virgin,  little  one,  I  must  have  a  word  in  that 
argument,"  said  Bruno  in  the  dining-room,  with  kindling  eyes 
and  clenched  fist. 

But  at  the  next  moment  the  stranger  came  flying  out,  and 
Bruno  contented  himself  with  making  the  sign  with  the  finger 
to  avert  the  evil  eye  as  the  man's  pallid  face  disappeared 
through  the  outer  door. 

"  Just  one  of  his  white  heats,"  said  Bruno,  under  his  breath, 
with  a  side-glance  at  the  bedroom.  "  He'll  do  something  some 
day." 


78  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Heaven  and  the  saints  forbid !  "  said  Bruno's  wife,  and 
then  David  Rossi  came  out  with  his  long,  slow  step,  looking 
pale  but  calm,  and  tearing  up  a  letter  into  small  pieces,  which 
he  threw  into  the  fire. 

Little  Joseph,  who  had  been  busy  with  his  mace,  rushed 
upon  Rossi  with  a  shout,  and  when  Rossi  rose  from  stooping 
over  the  boy,  his  face  was  red  and  the  tones  of  his  voice  were 
natural. 

"  What  was  amiss,  sir  ?  They  could  hear  you  across  the 
street,"  said  Bruno. 

"  A  man  whose  room  was  better  than  his  company,  that's 
all." 

"  What's  his  name,"  said  Bruno,  consulting  the  sheet  which 
the  company  had  signed.  '' '  Charles  Minghelli '  ?  Why,  that 
must  be  the  Secretary  who  was  suspected  of  forgery  at  the 
Embassy  in  London,  and  got  dismissed." 

"  I  thought  as  much !  "  said  David  Rossi.  "  No  doubt  the 
man  attributed  his  dismissal  to  the  Prime  Minister,  and  wanted 
to  use  me  for  his  private  revenge." 

"  That  was  his  game,  was  it  ?  Why  didn't  you  let  me  know, 
sir?  He  would  have  gone  downstairs  like  a  falling  star.  You 
turned  him  out,  though,  and  he'll  tie  that  on  his  finger,  at  all 
events.  He  is  as  fine  as  a  razor,  but  he  looks  as  if  he  carried 
a  small  arsenal  on  his  hip.  He's  stuff  to  take  with  a  pair  of 
tongs,  anyway,  and  now  that  I  remember,  he's  the  nephew  of 
old  Palomba,  the  Mayor,  and  I've  seen  him  at  Donna  Roma's. 
'  Charles  Minghelli  ? '  Of  course !  That  was  the  name  on  a 
letter  she  gave  me  to  post,  in  one  of  her  perfumed  violet  en- 
velopes, with  her  monogram  engraved  on  the  front  of  it." 

There  was  a  thumping  knock  at  that  moment,  and  the 
boy,  who  had  been  playing  with  the  buttons  of  David  Rossi's 
coat,  shouted : 

"  Me !  Me !  "  and,  seizing  his  mace,  marched  with  a  strut  to 
the  door  and  opened  it. 

"  Who  is  it  ?  "  said  the  boy  within. 

"  Friends,"  said  a  voice  without. 

A  waiter  in  a  white  smock,  with  a  large  tin  box  on  his  head, 
entered  the  hall,  and  behind  him  came  the  old  woman  from 
the  porter's  lodge,  with  the  wrinkled  face  and  the  red  cotton 
handkerchief. 

"  Come  in,"  cried  Bruno.  "  I  ordered  the  best  dinner  in 
the  Trattoria,  sir,  and  tliought  we  might  perhaps  dine  together 
for  once." 


THE   REPUBLIC  OP  MAN      .  Y9 

"  Good,"  said  David  Rossi. 

"  Here  it  is,  a  whole  basketful  of  the  grace  of  God,  sir ! 
Out  with  it,  Riccardo,"  and  while  the  wohaen  laid  the  table, 
Bruno  took  the  dishes  smoking  hot  from  their  temporary  oven 
with  its  charcoal  fire. 

"  Artichokes — good.  Chicken — ^good  again.  I  must  be  a 
fox — I  was  dreaming  of  chicken  all  last  night!  Gnocchi! 
(potatoes  and  flour  baked.)  Agradolce!  (sour  and  sweet.) 
Fagioletti!  (French  beans  boiled)  and — a  half  flask  of  Chianti! 
Who  said  the  son  of  my  mother  couldn't  order  a  dinner?  All 
right,  Riccardo,  come  back  at  Ave  Maria." 

The  waiter  went  off,  and  the  company  sat  down  to  their 
meal,  Bruno  and  his  wife  at  either  end  of  the  table,  and  David 
Rossi  on  the  sofa,  with  the  boy  on  his  right,  and  the  cat  curled 
up  into  his  side  on  the  left,  while  the  old  woman  stood  in  front, 
serving  the  food  and  removing  the  plates. 

"  I'm  as  hungry  as  a  wolf  and  as  thirsty  as  a  sponge,"  said 
Bruno,  sticking  his  knife  into  the  chicken. 

"  Bruno,"  said  his  wife  with  a  warning  look,  and  a  glance 
at  Joseph,  who,  with  eyes  dubiously  closed,  was  bringing  his 
little  hands  together. 

"  Oh !  All  right,  Elena !  Go  ahead,  little  one,"  and  while 
Bruno  sat  with  his  fists  on  the  table  and  knife  and  fork  pointing 
heavenwards,  Joseph  said  six  words  of  grace. 

"  Good  for  you,  Giuseppe-Mazzini-Garibaldi !  Short  text, 
long  sermon !  We'll  take  a  long  drink  on  the  strength  of  it. 
Let  me  fill  up  your  glass,  sir.  IsTo?  Tut!  Drink  wine  and 
leave  water  to  the  mill." 

And,  while  they  ate  and  drank,  the  little  April  gales  of 
gossip  went  flying  around  the  room,  with  fitful  gleams  of  sun- 
shine and  some  passing  showers. 

"  Look  at  him  !  "  said  the  old  woman,  who  was  deaf,  pointing 
to  David  Rossi,  with  his  two  neighbours.  "  Now,  why  doesn't 
the  Blessed  Virgin  give  him  a  child  of  his  own  ?  " 

"  She  has,  mother,  and  here  he  is,"  said  David  Rossi. 

"  You'll  let  her  give  him  a  woman  first,  won't  you  ? "  said 
Bruno. 

"  Ah !  that  will  never  be,"  said  David  Rossi. 

"  What  does  he  say  ? "  said  the  old  woman,  with  her  hand 
at  her  ear  like  a  shell. 

"He  says  he  won't  have  any  of  you,"  bawled  Bruno. 

"  What  an  idea !  But  I've  heard  men  say  that  before,  and 
they've  been  married  sooner  than  you  could  say  '  Hail  Mary.'  " 


80  •  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  It  isn't  an  incident  altogether  unknown  in  the  history  of 
this  planet,  is  it,  mother  ? "  said  Bruno. 

"  The  man  who  doesn't  marry  must  have  a  poor  opinion  of 
women,"  said  the  old  woman. 

"  And  a  poor  opinion  of  the  Almighty,  too,"  said  Bruno. 
"  Male  and  female  created  He  them — at  least,  I  am  led  to 
believe  so  every  day  of  my  life." 

"  Men  will  be  talking,"  said  Elena.  "  Go  on  with  your 
dinner,  Bruno,  and  don't  raise  your  voice  so." 

"  There  are  only  two  kinds  of  women,  sir — ordinary  women 
and  your  wife,"  said  Bruno,  winking  gaily. 

"  And  there  are  only  two  kinds  of  men — sensible  men  and 
your  husband,"  said  Elena. 

"  The  horse's  kick  doesn't  hurt  the  mare,  you  see,"  said 
Bruno.  "  But  women,  bless  their  sweet  faces,  are  the  springs 
of  everything  in  this  world — man-springs  especially." 

"  A  heart  to  share  your  sorrows  and  joys  is  something,  and 
the  man  is  not.  wise  who  wastes  the  chance  of  it,"  said  the  old 
woman.  "  Does  he  think  parliaments  will  make  up  for  it  when 
he  grows  old  and  wants  something  to  comfort  him  ?  " 

"  Hush,  mother !  "  said  Elena,  but  Bruno  made  mouths  at 
her  to  let  the  old  woman  go  on. 

"  As  for  me,  I'll  want  somebody  of  my  own  about  me  to 
close  my  eyes  when  the  time  comes  to  put  the  sacred  oil  on 
them,"  said  the  old  woman. 

And  then  David  Rossi,  with  the  sweetness  of  his  voice  in 
conversation,  said,  "  I  know  that  a  woman's  love  is  the  strong- 
est and  purest  and  best  in  the  world  except  the  love  of  God,  yet 
if  I  found  myself  caring  too  much  for  any  one  I  should  run 
away." 

"  That's  right,  sir.  In  the  battle  of  love  he  wins  who  flies," 
said  Bruno. 

"  If  a  man  has  dedicated  his  life  to  work  for  humanity," 
said  David  Rossi,  "  he  must  give  up  many  things— father, 
mother,  wife,  child.  He  must  bid  a  long  farewell  to  all  earthly 
aifections,  and  be  prepared  to  become,  if  need  be,  a  homeless 
wanderer,  treading  a  path  which  he  knows  beforehand  will  be 
choked  with  sorrows." 

The  corner  of  Elena's  apron  crept  up  to  the  corner  of  her 
eye,  but  the  old  woman,  who  thought  the  subject  had  changed, 
laughed  and  said : 

"  That's  just  what  I  say  to  Tommaso.  *  Tommaso,'  I  say, 
*  if  a  man  is  going  to  be  a  policeman  he  must  have  no  father, 


THE  REPUBLIC  OF   MAN  81 

or  mother,  or  wife,  or  child — no  nor  bowels  neither,'  I  say.  And 
Tommaso  says,  '  Francesca,'  he  says,  '  the  whole  tribe  of  gentry 
they  call  statesmen  are  just  policemen  in  plain  clothes,  and  I 
do  believe  they've  only  liberated  Mr.  Rossi  as  a  trap  to  catch 
him  again  when  he  has  done  something.' " 

"  They  won't  catch  you  though,  will  they,  mother  ?  "  shouted 
Bruno. 

"  That  they  won't !  I'm  deaf,  praise  the  saints,  and  can't 
hear  them." 

"  Beautiful  dispensation  of  Providence  in  a  witness !  Let 
me  examine  you,  mother.  Three  questions  the  police  ask  a 
woman  to  begin  with." 

"Eh?" 

"  Three  questions,"  bawled  Bruno.  "  What's  your  name 
and  your  father's  name,  how  old  are  you,  and  how  many  chil- 
dren have  you  got  ?  Xow,  let's  see  how  you  know  your  lesson — 
how  old  are  you,  mother  ? " 

"  Francesca  Maria  fu  Giuseppe,"  answered  the  old  woman. 

"  My  mistake,  mother — how  many  children  have  you 
got?"_ 

"  Sixty-seven,  your  worship." 

"  Excellent  witness!  "  said  Bruno,  and  he  laughed  until  he 
cried. 

Another  knock  came  from  the  staircase. 

"  Me !  Me !  "  cried  the  boy,  and  the  mace  with  its  tattered 
handkerchief  went  to  the  door  again. 

"Who  is  it?" 

"  Friends." 

"  Who  is  it  this  time,  Garibaldi-Mazzini-Washington  ?  Oh ! 
Old  John  again !  " 

An  old  man  stood  on  the  threshold.  He  was  one  of  David 
Rossi's  pensioners.  liinety  years  of  age,  his  children  all  dead, 
he  lived  with  his  grandchildren,  and  was  one  of  the  poor  human 
rats  who  stay  indoors  all  day  and  come  out  with  a  lantern  at 
night  to  scour  the  gutters  of  the  city  for  the  refuse  of  cigar- 
ends. 

"  Come  another  night,  John !  Don't  expect  the  Villa  Bor- 
ghese,  sonny,"  said  Bruno. 

But  David  Rossi  would  not  send  him  away  empty,  and  he 
was  going  off  with  the  sparkling  eyes  of  a  boy,  when  he  said : 

"T  heard  you  in  the  piazza  this  morning.  Excellency! 
Grand!     Only  sorry  for  one  thing." 

"  And  what  was  that,  sonny  ?  "  said  Bruno. 


82  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  What  his  Excellency  said  about  Donna  Roma.  She  gave 
me  a  half  franc  only  yesterday,  sir — stopped  the  carriage  to  do 
it,  too !  " 

"  So  that's  your  only  reason  .  .  ."  began  Bruno. 

"  Good  reason,  too.  Good-night,  John !  "  said  David  Rossi, 
and  Joseph  closed  the  door. 

"  Oh,  she  has  her  virtues,  like  every  other  kind  of  spider," 
said  Bruno. 

"  I'm  sorry  I  spoke  of  her,"  said  David  Rossi. 

"  You  needn't  be,  though.  She  deserved  all  she  got.  I 
haven't  been  two  years  in  her  studio  without  knowing  what 
she  is." 

"  It  was  the  man  I  was  thinking  of,  and  if  I  had  remem- 
bered that  the  woman  must  suffer  .  .  ." 

"  Tut !  She'll  have  to  make  her  Easter  confession  a  little 
earlier,  that's  all." 

"  If  she  hadn't  laughed  when  I  was  speaking  .  .  ." 

"  You're  on  the  wrong  track  now,  sir.  That  wasn't  Donna 
Roma.  It  was  the  little  Princess  Bellini.  She's  always  stretch- 
ing her  neck  and  screeching  like  an  old  gandery  goose.  Do 
Donna  Roma  justice ;  she's  a  better  piece  than  that.  Never  saw 
her,  sir  ?  Oh,  a  splendid  woman !  Stood  in  the  centre  of  the 
balcony,  sir — women  are  as  fond  of  sitting  up  in  a  balcony  as  a 
horse  of  looking  over  a  gate — and  if  you  had  seen  her  there  you 
would  have  said  she  was  as  sweet  to  look  upon  as  one  of  the 
apples  of  Eden,  but  she's  just  as  cunning  as  the  serpent  of 
old  Nile." 

Dinner  was  now  over,  and  the  boy  called  for  the  phono- 
graph. David  Rossi  went  into  the  sitting-room  to  fetch  it,  and 
Elena  went  in  at  the  same  time  to  light  the  fire.  She  was 
kneeling  with  her  back  to  him,  blowing  on  to  the  wood,  when 
she  said  in  a  trembling  voice : 

"  I'm  a  little  sorry  myself,  sir,  if  I  may  say  so.  I  can't 
believe  what  they  say  about  the  mistress,  but  even  if  it's  true  we 
don't  know  her  story,  do  we?  " 

"  Perhaps  you're  right,  sister,"  said  David  Rossi. 

When  he  returned  to  the  dining-room  with  the  phonograph, 
the  dishes  had  been  gathered  up,  the  old  grandmother  had  gone, 
and  Joseph  had  ranged  two  lines  of  chairs  from  the  table  to  the 
door,  back  to  back,  with  a  space  between  them,  and  various 
walking-sticks  across  the  top  to  represent  the  courtyard  to  the 
palace.  And  dressed  in  his  father's  coat,  turned  inside  oiit  to 
display  a  gorgeous  lining  of  red  flannel,  he  was  navigating  the 


THE  REPUBLIC   OF  MAN  83 

narrow  strait  with  his  mace  like  a  three-decker  flying  all  its 
flags,  while  Bruno,  in  his  shirt  sleeves,  was  laughing  until  he 
shook  at  the  boy's  strutting  step  and  whisking  tail. 

"  Laugh  too  much  and  you'll  get  the  heart-ache,"  cried 
Elena  from  the  inner  room. 

"  I'm  going  to  be  as  quiet  as  oil,  mamma,"  said  Bruno,  and 
he  lit  a  cigar  which  was  twisted  like  a  corkscrew. 

Then  the  phonograph  was  turned  on,  and  Joseph  marched 
to  the  tune  of  "  Swanney  River  "  and  the  strains  of  Sousa's 
band,  while  David  Rossi  leaned  on  the  mantel-piece  and 
thought  of  a  country  far  away,  where  a  man  is  a  man  and  the 
air  is  free. 

"  Mr.  Rossi,"  said  Bruno,  between  a  puff  and  a  blow. 

"Yes?" 

"  Have  you  tried  the  cylinder  that  came  first  ?  " 

"  Not  yet." 

"How's  that,  sir?" 

"  The  man  who  brought  it  said  the  friend  who  had  spoken 
into  it  was  dead,"  and  then  with  a  shiver  through  his  teeth, 
"  It  would  be  like  a  voice  from  the  grave — I  doiibt  if  I  dare 
hear  it." 

"  Like  a  ghost  speaking  to  a  man,  certainly — especially  if 
the  friend  was  a  close  one." 

"  He  was  the  closest  friend  I  ever  had,  Bruno— he  was 
my  father." 

"Father?" 

"  Foster  father,  anyway.  For  four  years  he  clothed  and  fed 
and  educated  me,  and  I  was  the  same  as  his  own  son." 

"  Had  he  no  children  of  his  own  ?  " 

"  One  little  daughter,  no  bigger  than  Joseph  when  I  saw  her 
last — Roma." 

"Roma?" 

"  Yes,  her  father  was  a  Liberal,  and  her  name  was  Roma." 

He  had  taken  from  the  mantel-piece  the  sheet  with  the 
signatures,  and  was  drawing  his  pen  from  his  pocket.  "  How 
beautiful  the  child  was !  Iler  hair  was  as  black  as  a  raven,  and 
her  eyes  were  like  two  sloes." 

Elena  had  come  back  to  the  room  and  was  standing  listen- 
ing, with  her  soiled  hands  by  her  side. 

"  What  became  of  her?  "  she  said. 

"  When  her  father  came  to  Italy  on  the  errand  which  ended 
in  his  imprisonment,  he  gave  her  into  the  keeping  of  some 
Italian  friends  in  London.     I  was  too  young  to  take  charge 


84  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

of  her  then.  Besides,  I  left  England  shortly  afterward  and 
went  to  America." 

"  Where  is  she  now  ? "  said  Elena,  and  David  Rossi  struck 
out  the  last  name  on  the  list  and  answered,  with  his  head  down : 

"  When  I  returned  to  England  .  .  ,  she  was  dead." 

"  Well,  there's  nothing  new  under  the  sun  of  Rome — Donna 
Roma  came  from  London,"  said  Bruno. 

David  Rossi  felt  the  muscles  of  his  face  quiver. 

"  Her  father  was  an  exile  in  England,  too,  and  when  he 
came  back  on  the  errand  that  ended  in  Elba,  he  gave  her  away 
to  some  people  who  treated  her  badly — I've  heard  old  Teapot, 
the  Countess,  say  so  when  she's  been  nagging  her  poor  niece." 

David  Rossi  breathed  painfully,  and  something  rose  in  his 
throat. 

"  Strange  if  it  should  be  the  same,"  said  Bruno. 

"  But  Mr.  Rossi's  Roma  is  dead,"  said  Elena. 

"  Ah,  of  course,  certainly !    What  a  fool  I  am !  "  said  Bruno. 

David  Rossi  had  a  sense  of  suffocation,  of  wanting  more 
space  in  the  world,  and  he  went  out  on  to  the  lead  flat. 


VI 

The  Ave  Maria  was  ringing  from  many  church  towers,  and 
the  golden  day  was  going  down  with  the  sun  behind  the  dark 
outline  of  the  dome  of  St.  Peter's,  while  the  blue  night  was 
rising  over  the  snow-capped  Apennines  in  a  premature  twilight 
with  one  twinkling  star.  A  shiver  seemed  to  pass  through  the 
air  with  the  rising  of  the  evening  breeze  and  the  rustling  of 
the  fallen  leaves,  as  if  the  old  earth  were  chattering  its  teeth. 

David  Rossi's  ears  buzzed  as  with  the  sound  of  a  mighty 
wind  rushing  through  trees  at  a  distance.  Bruno's  last  words 
f)u  top  of  Charles  Minghelli's  had  struck  him  like  an  alarum 
bell  heard  through  the  mists  of  sleep,  and  his  head  was  stunned 
and  his  eyes  were  dizzy.  He  buttoned  his  coat  about  him,  and 
walked  quickly  to  and  fro  on  the  lead  flat  by  the  side  of  the 
cage,  in  which  the  birds  were  already  bunched  up  and  silent. 

The  night  came  on  rapidly,  and  as  the  darkness  fell  a  scroll 
of  pictures  seemed  to  unfold  before  his  memory,  and  all  of 
them  in  the  lurid  light  of  calamity.  At  one  moment  he  was  in 
London,  the  great  city  under  the  wing  of  the  fog.  Within  the 
walls  of  a  happy  home  there  was  a  cheerful  fire,  a  venerable  old 
naan,  a  saintly  woman,  and  an  innocent  child  with  violet  eyes, 


THE   REPUBLIC  OF   MAN  85 

who  sang  all  day  long  as  if  her  little  breast  was  a  cage  of  song- 
birds. At  the  next  moment  he  was  back  in  Rome,  within  the 
gilded  walls  of  an  old  palace,  with  powdered  lacqueys  carrying 
silver  salvers,  and  the  same  child  grown  to  be  a  woman,  beauti- 
ful, stately,  majestic,  dressed  magnificently  and  tended  like  a 
queen,  but  surrounded  by  an  atmosphere  of  shame.  Then  a 
shudder  ran  through  his  blood,  and  a  voice  whispered  in  his 
soul,  "  Better  she  were  dead !  "  And  listening  to  this  voice  he 
told  himself  she  was  dead,  she  must  be  dead,  for  God  was  good, 
and  such  a  calamity  could  not  be. 

Before  he  was  aware  of  the  passing  of  time,  the  church  bells 
were  tolling  the  first  hour  of  night — that  solemn  sound  with  its 
single  stroke  first  and  last,  which  falls  upon  the  ear  with  the 
chilling  reverberation  of  the  bell  swinging  on  a  rock  in  the 
open  sea.  The  windows  of  the  convent  of  Trinita  de'  Monti 
were  lit  up  by  this  time,  and  there  were  dim  lights,  too,  in  the 
Passionist  Monastery.  Brides  of  Christ  and  children  of  the 
cells,  he  could  see  them  saying  the  psalm  for  the  dead,  in  their 
dark  church,  with  one  oil  lamp  burning  under  the  face  of  the 
monk  who  read  the  prayers,  while  his  fellow-monks  knelt  in 
the  shadows,  chanting  their  responses  in  voices  that  echoed  as 
in  a  tomb.  Happy  were  they  in  the  simplicity  of  their  life,  for 
Fate  played  no  cruel  part  to  turn  it  into  a  grim  and  hideous 
jest. 

"  But  she  is  dead,"  he  thought.  "  God  guides  our  steps  to 
good  ends  through  all  their  various  faltcrings.  He  could  not 
have  allowed  me  to  do  it !    She  is  dead !  " 

Presently  he  became  aware  of  flares  burning  in  the  Piazza 
of  St.  Peter,  and  of  the  shadows  of  giant  heads  cast  up  on  the 
walls  of  the  vast  basilica.  It  was  the  crowd  gathering  for  the 
last  ceremonial  of  the  Pope's  Jubilee,  and  at  the  sound  of  a 
double  rocket,  which  went  up  as  with  the  crackle  of  musketry, 
little  Joseph  came  running  on  to  the  roof,  followed  by  his 
mother  and  Bruno. 

David  Rossi  took  the  boy  into  his  arms  and  tried  to  disi)el 
the  gloom  of  his  own  spirits  in  the  child's  joy  at  the  illumina- 
tions. First  came  twelve  strokes  of  the  great  bell,  then  from 
the  cross  on  the  ball  of  St.  Peter's  there  burst  a  tongue  of  flame, 
and  then  the  fire  ran  round  the  wide  curves  of  the  dome, 
leapt  along  the  parapet  of  the  fagade,  dropped  down  the  round 
columns,  vaulted  over  the  pediment,  and  played  about  the  capi- 
tals, the  cupolas,  the  clocks,  and  the  statues  of  the  apostles  until 
the  entire  edifice  was  pricked  out  in  tens  of  thousands  of  spark- 


86  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

ling  lamps,  and  the  piazza  below  and  the  city  behind  stood 
forth  in  a  dazzling  white  light  with  deep  black  shadows. 
Another  rocket  went  up,  and  in  a  moment  the  white  lights 
turned  to  golden,  and  the  piazza  looked  like  a  cauldron  over 
a  fire  and  the  city  seemed  as  if  the  gates  of  a  vast  furnace 
had  been  opened  on  it.  Then  the  lamps  began  to  burn  fitfully 
and  to  go  out  one  by  one,  and  in  the  broken  lines  of  the 
great  building  a  fairyland  of  magic  palaces  appeared  to 
rise  up  and  die  down  under  the  supernatural  glory  of  the 
failing  lights,  until  the  ethereal  phantoms  had  faded  bit  by 
bit,  and  the  Basilica  had  fallen  as  it  were  to  ruins  and  melted 
away. 

"  Ever  see  'luminations  before,  Uncle  David  ?  "  said  Joseph. 

"  Once,  dear,  but  that  was  long  ago  and  far  away.  I  was  a 
boy  myself  in  those  days,  and  there  was  a  little  girl  with  me 
then  who  was  no  bigger  than  you  are  now.  But  it's  growing 
cold,  there's  frost  in  the  air,  besides  it's  late,  and  little  boys 
must  go  to  bed." 

"  Well,  God  is  God,  and  the  Pope  is  His  Prophet,"  said 
Bruno,  when  Elena  and  Joseph  had  gone  indoors.  "  It  was  like 
day!  You  could  see  the  lightning  conductor  over  the  Pope's 
apartment !  Pshew !  "  blowing  puffs  of  smoke  from  his  twisted 
cigar.    "  Won't  keep  the  lightning  off,  though." 

"  Bruno ! " 

"Yes,  sir?" 

"  Donna  Roma's  father  would  be  Prince  Volonna  ?  " 

"  Yes,  the  last  prince  of  the  old  papal  name.  When  the 
Volonna  estates  were  confiscated,  the  title  really  lapsed,  but  old 
Vampire  got  the  lands." 

"  Did  you  ever  hear  that  he  bore  any  other  name  during 
the  time  he  was  in  exile  ?  " 

"  Sure  to,  but  there  was  no  trial  and  nothing  was  known. 
They  all  changed  their  names,  though." 

"  Why  .  .  .  what  .  .  ."  said  David  Rossi  in  an  unsteady 
voice. 

"  Why  ?  "  said  Bruno.  "  Because  they  were  all  condemned 
in  Italy,  and  the  foreign  countries  were  told  to  turn  them  out. 
But  what  am  I  talking  about  ?  You  know  all  that  better  than 
I  do,  sir.    Didn't  your  old  friend  go  under  a  false  name  ?  " 

"  Very  likely — I  don't  know,"  said  David  Rossi,  in  a  voice 
that  testified  to  jangled  nerves. 

"  Did  he  ever  tell  you,  sir  ?  " 

"I  can't  say  that  be  ever  .  .  ,  Certainly  the  school  of 


THE  REPUBLIC   OF  MAN  87 

revolution  has  always  had  villains  enough,  and  perhaps  to  pre- 
vent treachery  .  .  ." 

"  You  may  say  so !  The  devil  has  the  run  of  the  world, 
even  in  England.  But  I'm  surprised  your  old  friend,  being  like 
a  father  to  you,  didn't  tell  you — at  the  end  anyway  .  .  ." 

"  Perhaps  he  intended  to — and  then  perhaps  .  ,  ." 

David  Rossi  put  his  hand  to  his  brow  as  if  in  pain  and  per- 
plexity, and  began  again  to  walk  backward  and  forward. 

A  screamer  in  the  piazza  below  cried  Trib-un-a!  '^  and 
Bruno  said : 

"  That's  early !  What's  up,  I  wonder  ?  I'll  go  down  and 
get  a  paper." 

Darkness  had  by  this  time  re-invaded  the  sky,  and  the  stars 
looked  down  from  their  broad  dome,  clear,  sweet,  white,  and 
serene,  putting  to  shame  by  their  immortal  solemnity  the  poor 
little  mimes,  the  paltry  puppet-shows  of  the  human  jackstraws 
who  had  just  been  worshipping  at  their  self-made  shrine. 

"  The  heavens  declare  the  glory  of  God,  and  the  firmament 
showeth  His  handiwork." 

David  Rossi  uttered  these  words  aloud,  but  he  tried  in  vain 
to  get  some  of  the  calmness  of  the  night  into  his  soul.  Before 
his  eyes  there  passed,  as  before,  the  shifting  and  unsubstantial 
scroll  of  memory.  He  was  back  in  London  again,  and  under 
the  great  glass  roof  of  a  railway  station,  amid  the  choking 
smoke  of  the  engines  and  the  deafening  scream  of  the  steam- 
whistles,  he  was  saying  "  Good-bye "  to  an  old  man  with  a 
patriarchal  beard.  "  Good-bye,  my  son !  I  will  write  to  you  in 
good  time,  and  then  I  shall  have  something  to  say  which  may 
perhaps  surprise  you.  Good-bye,  and  God  bless  you."  And 
then,  silence,  a  face  blotted  out,  a  voice  buried  in  a  house  of 
bondage,  which  closed  its  doors  on  a  living  man  and  opened 
them  only  to  put  out  a  corpse. 

Stay !  In  the  scroll  of  memory  there  was  one  other  picture. 
Rome  once  more,  and  an  ex-prisoner  from  Elba  finding  him  out 
in  the  Chamber  of  Deputies.  "I  bring  you  a  dying  man's 
message,"  he  said,  and  put  into  his  hand  a  little  cardboard  box. 
"  He  lived  at  large,  and  had  a  garden  in  which  he  grew  flowers 
for  the  children,  but  he  was  forbidden  to  write  letters,  and  the 
post  was  watched."  The  box  contained  a  cylinder  for  the 
phonograph,  and  bore  this  inscription:  "For  the  hands  of 
D.  L.  only — to  be  destroyed  if  Deputy  David  Rossi  does  not 
know  where  to  find  him." 

The  Tiber  below  was  running  over  its  bed  of  mud  with 


88  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

a  turbulence  that  was  like  the  tumult  in  David  Rossi's  mind, 
toiling  in  darkness  and  tormented  by  doubts,  and  the  formless 
things  sweeping  down  with  the  current  were  like  the  appari- 
tions of  fear  which  he  could  not  bring  himself  to  challenge. 
But  just  then  the  church  clock  struck  eight,  and  he  thought  he 
heard  a  voice  saying : 

"  Have  courage !  Dive  to  the  bottom  of  this  mystery ! 
Heaven  is  over  all !  " 

As  David  Rossi  returned  to  the  house,  Elena,  who  was  un- 
dressing the  boy,  saw  a  haggard  look  in  his  eyes,  but  Bnmo, 
who  was  reading  his  evening  journal,  saw  nothing,  and  cried 
out: 

"  Helloa !  Listen  to  this,  sir.  It's  Olga.  She's  got  a  pen, 
I  can  tell  you.     *  Madame  de  Pompadour.     Hitherto  we  have 

had  the  pleasure  of  having  Madame ,  whose  pressure  on 

the  state  and  on  Italy's  wise  counsellors  was  only  incidental, 
but  now  that  the  fates  have  given  us  a  Madame  Pompadour 
.  .  .'  Then  there's  a  leading  article  on  your  speech  in  the 
piazza.  Praises  you  up  to  the  skies.  Look !  *  Thank  God  we 
have  men  like  the  Honourable  Rossi,  who  at  the  risk  of  .  .  .'  " 

But  with  a  clouded  brow  David  Rossi  turned  away  from 
him  and  passed  into  the  sitting-room,  and  Bruno  looked  around 
in  blank  bewilderment. 

"  Shall  you  want  the  lamp,  sir  ?  "  said  Elena. 

"  Not  yet,  thank  you,"  he  answered  through  the  open  door. 

The  wood  fire  was  glowing  on  the  hearth,  and  in  the  acute 
state  of  his  nerves  he  shuddered  involuntarily  as  its  reflection 
in  the  window  opposite  looked  back  at  him  like  a  fiery  eye.  He 
opened  the  case  of  the  phonograph,  which  had  been  returned  to 
its  place  on  the  piano,  and  then  from  a  drawer  in  the  bureau 
he  took  a  small  cardboard  box.  The  wood  in  the  fire  flickered 
at  that  moment  and  started  some  ghastly  shadows  on  the  ceil- 
ing, but  he  drew  a  cylinder  from  the  box  and  slid  it  on  to  th(> 
barrel  of  the  phonograph.  Then  he  stepped  to  the  door,  shut 
and  locked  it. 

VII 

"  Well  !  "  said  Bruno.  "  If  that  isn't  enough  to  make  a 
man  feel  as  small  as  a  sardine !  " 

There  was  only  one  thing  to  do,  but  to  conceal  the  nature  of 
it  Bruno  flourished  the  newspaper  and  said : 

"  Elena,  I  must  go  down  to  the  lodge  and  read  these  articles 


THE  REPUBLIC  OP  MAN  89 

to  your  father.  Poor  Donna  Roma,  she'll  have  to  fly,  I'm 
afraid.  Bye-bye,  Garibaldi-Mazzini !  Early  to  bed,  early  to 
rise,  and  time  enough  to  grow  old,  you  know !  ...  As  for  Mr. 
Rossi,  he  might  be  a  sinner  and  a  criminal  instead  of  the  hero 
of  the  hour !  It  licks  me  to  little  bits."  And  Bruno  carried  his 
dark  mystery  down  to  the  cafe  to  see  if  it  might  be  dispelled 
by  a  litre  of  autumnal  light  from  sunny  vineyards. 

Meantime,  Joseph,  being  very  tired,  was  shooting  out  a 
pettish  lip  because  he  had  to  go  to  bed  without  saying  good- 
night to  Uncle  David,  and  his  mother,  making  terms  with  this 
pretence,  consented  to  bring  his  nightdress  down  to  him  instead 
of  taking  his  little  body  up  to  it,  thinking  David  Rossi  might 
be  out  of  the  sitting-room  by  that  time,  and  the  boy  be  pacified. 
But  when  she  returned  to  the  dining-room  the  sitting-room 
door  was  still  closed,  and  Joseph  was  pleading  to  be  allowed  to 
lie  on  the  sofa  until  Uncle  David  carried  him  to  bed,  and  after 
various  promises  that  he  would  not  sleep  he  was  permitted  to  lie 
down  in  his  nightdress  with  his  day-clothes  scattered  over  him. 
All  went  well  for  thirty  seconds,  and  then  the  little  curly  poll 
on  the  cushion  gave  undoubted  signs  of  vanquishment  in  the 
great  battle  of  all  child-like  natures  with  the  mighty  monster 
sleep. 

"  I'm  not  asleep,  mamma,"  came  in  a  drowsy  voice  from  the 
sofa,  but  almost  at  the  same  moment  the  measured  breath 
slowed  down,  the  watch-lights  blinked  themselves  out,  and  the 
little  soul  slid  away  into  the  darksome  kingdom  of  unconscious- 
ness. 

A  mother's  joy  is  like  a  child's,  and  Elena  laughed  to  her- 
self as  she  sat  on  the  other  end  of  the  sofa  and  took  up  the  little 
man's  garments  and  smelt  them  one  by  one,  and  then  turned 
out  his  pockets  and  noted  their  wonderful  contents — a  cork,  a 
pebble,  a  broken  button,  and  a  rusty  nail. 

Suddenly,  in  the  silence  of  the  room,  she  was  startled  by  a 
voice.  It  came  from  the  sitting-room.  Was  it  Mr.  Rossi's 
voice  ?  No !  The  voice  was  older  and  feebler  than  Mr.  Rossi's, 
and  less  clear  and  distinct.  Could  it  be  possible  that  somebody 
was  with  him?  If  so,  the  visitor  must  have  arrived  while  she 
was  in  the  bedroom  above.  But  why  had  she  not  heard  the 
knock?  How  did  it  occur  that  Joseph  had  not  told  her?  And 
then  the  lamp  was  still  on  the  dining-room  table,  and  save 
for  the  firelight,  the  sitting-room  must  be  dark. 

A  chill  began  to  run  through  her  blood,  and  she  tried  to 
hear  what  was  said,  but  the  voice  was  muffled  by  its  passage 
7 


90  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

through  the  wall,  and  she  could  only  catch  a  word  or  two. 
Presently  the  strange  voice,  without  stopping,  was  broken  in 
upon  by  a  voice  that  was  clear  and  familiar,  but  now  faltering 
with  the  note  of  pain :  "  I  swear  to  God  I  will !  " 

That  was  Mr.  Rossi's  voice,  and  Elena's  head  began  to  go 
round.  Whom  was  he  speaking  to?  Who  was  speaking  to 
him  ?  He  went  into  the  room  alone,  he  was  sitting  in  the  dark, 
find  yet  there  were  two  voices. 

At  that  moment  little  Joseph  cried  in  his  sleep,  and  after 
she  had  put  him  to  lie  on  his  side,  and  comforted  him  and  he 
was  quiet,  she  listened  again,  but  all  was  still.  In  the  blank 
silence  she  was  beginning  to  tell  herself  that  she,  too,  had 
dozed  off  and  been  dreaming,  when  the  nightmare  came  again, 
first  in  the  sound  of  David  Rossi's  long  slow  step  on  the 
thin  carpet  over  the  tiled  floor,  and  then  in  a  certain  whizzing 
noise,  which  was  followed  after  a  moment  by  the  same  strange 
voice. 

A  light  dawned  on  her,  and  she  could  have  laughed.  What 
had  terrified  her  as  a  sort  of  supernatural  thing  was  only 
the  phonograph !  But  after  a  moment  a  fresh  tremor  struck 
upon  her  in  the  agony  of  the  exclamations  with  which  David 
Rossi  broke  in  upon  the  voice  that  was  being  reproduced  by 
the  machine.  She  could  hear  his  words  distinctly,  and  he  was 
in  great  trouble.  Hardly  knowing  what  she  did,  she  crept  up 
to  the  door  and  listened.  Even  then,  she  could  only  follow  the 
strange  voice  in  passages,  which  were  broken  and  submerged 
by  the  whirring  of  the  phonograph,  like  the  flight  of  a  sea-bird 
which  dips  at  intervals  and  leaves  nothing  but  the  wash  of  the 
wave. 

"  David,"  said  the  voice,  "  when  this  shall  come  to  your 
hands  ...  in  my  great  distress  of  mind  ...  do  not  trifle 
with  my  request  .  .  .  but  whatever  you  decide  to  do  ...  be 
gentle  with  the  child  .  .  .  remember  that  .  .  .  Adieu,  my  son 
.  .  .  the  end  is  near  ...  if  death  does  not  annihilate  .  .  . 
those  who  remain  on  earth  ...  a  helper  and  advocate  in 
heaven  .  .  .  Adieu !  "  And  interrupting  these  broken  words, 
were  half-smothered  cries  and  sobs  from  David  Rossi,  repeat- 
ing again  and  again :    "  I  will !    I  swear  to  God  I  will !  " 

Elena  could  bear  the  pain  no  longer,  and  mustering  up  her 
courage,  she  tapped  at  the  door.  It  was  a  gentle  tap,  and  no 
answer  was  returned.  She  knocked  louder,  and  then  an  angry 
voice  said : 

"Who's  there?" 


THE  REPUBLIC  OP  MAN  91 

"  It's  I — Elena,"  she  answered  timidly.  "  Is  anything  the 
matter  ?    Aren't  you  well,  sir  ?  " 

"  Ah,  yes,"  came  back  in  a  calmer  voice,  and  after  a  shuffling 
sound  as  of  the  closing  of  drawers,  David  Rossi  opened  the 
door  and  came  out. 

As  he  crossed  the  threshold  he  cast  a  backward  glance  into 
the  dark  room,  as  if  he  feared  that  some  invisible  hand  would 
touch  him  on  the  shoulder.  His  face  was  pale  and  beads  of 
perspiration  stood  on  his  forehead,  but  he  smiled,  and  in  a 
voice  that  was  a  little  hoarse,  yet  fairly  under  control,  he  said : 

"  I'm  afraid  I've  frightened  you,  Elena." 

"  You're  not  well,  sir.  Sit  down,  and  let  me  run  for  some 
cognac." 

"N'o!     It's  nothing!     Only  .  .  ." 

'•  Take  this  glass  of  water,  sir." 

"  That's  good !  I'm  better  now,  and  I'm  ashamed.  Elena, 
you  mustn't  think  any  more  of  this,  and  whatever  I  may  do 
in  the  future  that  seems  to  you  to  be  strange,  you  must  promise 
me  fiever  to  mention  it." 

"  I  needn't  promise  you  that,  sir,"  said  Elena. 

"  Bruno  is  a  brave,  bright,  loyal  soul,  Elena,  but  there  are 
times  ..." 

"  I  know — and  I'll  never  mention  it  to  anybody.  But  you've 
taken  a  chill  on  the  roof  at  sunset  looking  at  the  illuminations 
— that's  all  it  is !  The  nights  are  frosty  now,  and  I  was  to 
blame  that  I  didn't  send  out  your  cloak." 

And  Elena  thought,  "  I'll  give  two  big  candles  to  the  Ma- 
donna at  St.  Agostino's,  and  she'll  save  him  from  the  fever." 

Then  she  tried  to  be  cheerful,  and  turning  to  the  sleeping 
boy,  said : 

"  Look !  He  was  naughty  again,  and  wouldn't  go  to  bed 
until  you  came  out  to  carry  him." 

"  The  dear  little  man !  "  said  David  Rossa.  He  stepped  up 
to  the  couch,  but  his  pale  face  was  pre-occupied,  and  he  looked 
at  Elena  again  and  said : 

"  Where  does  Donna  Roma  live  ?  " 

"  Trinita  de'  Monti — eighteen,"  said  Elena. 

"Is  it  late?" 

"  It  must  be  half-past  eight  at  least,  sir." 

"  We'll  take  Joseph  to  bed  then." 

He  was  putting  -his  arms  about  the  boy  to  lift  him  when 
a  slippery-sloppery  step  was  heard  on  the  stairs,  followed  by  a 
hurried  knock  at  the  door. 


92  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

It  was  the  old  Garibaldian  porter,  breathless,  bareheaded, 

and  in  his  slippers. 

"  Father !  "  cried  Elena. 

"  It's  she.    She's  coming  up." 

At  the  next  moment  a  lady  in  evening  dress  was  standing 
in  the  hall.  It  was  Donna  Eoma.  She  had  unclasped  her 
ermine  cloak,  and  her  bosom  was  heaving  with  the  exertion  of 
the  ascent. 

"  May  I  speak  to  Mr.  Rossi  ?  "  she  began,  and  then  looking 
beyond  Elena  and  seeing  him,  where  he  stood  above  the  sleep- 
ing child,  a  qualm  of  faintness  seemed  to  seize  her,  and  she 
closed  her  eyes  for  a  moment. 

David  Rossi's  face  flushed  to  the  roots  of  his  hair,  but  he 
stepped  forward,  bowed  deeply,  led  the  way  to  the  sitting-room, 
and,  with  a  certain  incoherency  in  his  speech,  said : 

"  Come  in !  Elena  will  bring  the  lamp.  I  shall  be  back 
presently." 

Then  lifting  little  Joseph  in  his  arms,  he  carried  him  up  to 
bed,  tucked  him  in  his  cot,  smoothed  his  pillow,  made  the  sign 
of  the  cross  over  his  forehead,  and  came  back  to  the  sitting- 
room  with  the  air  of  a  man  walking  in  a  dream. 


vni 

As  Roma  climbed  the  stairs  to  David  Rossi's  rooms,  the 
conflicting  thoughts  which  had  wriggled  within  like  a  knot  of 
Egyptian  vipers  when  she  said  to  the  Baron,  "  I  could  kill 
him,"  were  tormenting  her  again.  But  when  she  reached  the 
open  door,  and  saw  the  man  himself  standing  above  the  sleeping 
child,  she  had  a  sensation  like  that  which  came  to  her  at  the 
first  sound  of  his  voice — a  sense  of  having  seen  the  picture 
before  somewhere,  in  some  other  existence  perhaps — and  this 
opening  of  an  unnamed  cell  in  her  memory  made  her  dizzy 
and  faint. 

Then  came  David  Rossi  with  hia  confused  speech  and  man- 
ners, followed  by  the  timid  woman  with  the  lamp  (Bruno's 
wife,  no  doubt)  ;  and  the  moment  she  entered  the  sitting-room 
she  felt  that  she  had  regained  her  composure. 

Being  left  alone,  she  looked  around,  and  at  a  glance  she  took 
in  everything — the  thin  carpet,  the  plain  chintz,  the  prints,  the 
incongruous  furniture.  She  saw  the  phonograph  on  the  piano, 
still  standing  open,  with  a  cylinder  exposed,  and  in  the  interval 


THE  REPUBLIC  OP  MAN  93 

of  waiting  she  felt  almost  tempted  to  touch  the  spring.  She 
saw  herself,  too,  in  the  mirror  above  the  mantel-piece,  with  her 
glossy  black  hair  rolled  up  like  a  tower,  from  which  one  curly 
lock  escaped  on  to  her  forehead,  and  with  the  ermine  cloak  on 
her  shoulders  over  the  white  silk  muslin  which  clung  to  her 
full  and  lovely  figure. 

Then  she  heard  David  Rossi's  footstep  returning,  and 
though  she  was  now  completely  self-possessed  she  was  con- 
scious of  a  certain  shiver  of  fear,  such  as  an  actress  feels  in  her 
dressing-room  at  the  tuning-up  of  the  orchestra.  Her  back 
was  to  the  door  and  she  heard  the  whirl  of  her  skirt  as  he  en- 
tered, and  then  he  was  before  her,  and  they  were  alone. 

He  was  looking  at  her  out  of  large,  pensive,  wonderful  eyes, 
and  she  saw  him  pass  his  hand  over  them  and  then  bow  pro- 
foundly and  motion  her  to  a  seat,  and  go  to  the  mantel-piece 
and  lean  on  it.  She  was  tingling  all  over,  and  a  certain  glow 
was  going  up  to  her  face,  but  when  she  spoke  she  was  mistress 
of  herself,  and  her  voice  was  soft  and  natural. 

"  I  am  doing  a  very  unusual  thing  in  coming  to  see  you," 
she  said,  "  but  you  have  forced  me  to  it,  and  I  am  quite  help- 
less." 

A  faint  sound  came  from  him,  and  she  was  aware  that  he 
was  leaning  forward  to  see  her  face,  so  she  dropped  her  eyes, 
partly  to  let  him  look  at  her,  and  partly  to  avoid  meeting  his 
gaze. 

"  I  heard  your  speech  in  the  piazza  this  morning.  It  would 
be  useless  to  disguise  the  fact  that  some  of  its  references  were 
meant  for  me." 

He  did  not  speak,  and  she  played  with  the  glove  in  her  lap, 
and  continued  in  the  same  soft  voice: 

"  If  I  were  a  man,  I  suppose  I  should  challenge  you.  Being 
a  woman,  I  can  only  come  to  you  and  tell  you  that  you  are 
wrong." 

"Wrong?" 

"  Cruelly,  terribly,  shamefully  wrong." 

"  You  mean  to  tell  me  -.  .  ." 

He  was  stammering  in  a  husky  voice,  but  she  said  quite 
calmly : 

"  I  mean  to  tell  you  that  in  substance  and  in  fact  what  you 
implied  was  false." 

There  was  a  dry  glitter  of  hatred  and  repulsion  in  her  eyes 
which  she  tried  to  subdue,  for  she  knew  that  he  was  looking  at 
her  still. 


.94  THfi   ETERNAL   CITY 

"  If  .  .  .  if  .  .  ." — his  voice  was  thick  and  indistinct — "  if 
you  tell  me  that  I  have  done  you  an  injury  .  .  ." 

"  You  have — a  terrible  injury." 

She  could  hear  his  breathing,  but  she  dared  not  look  up, 
lest  he  should  see  something  in  her  face. 

"  Perhaps  you  think  it  strange,"  she  said,  "  that  I  should 
ask  you  to  accept  my  assurance  only.  But  though  you  have 
done  me  a  great  wrong  I  believe  you  will  accept  it.  Even  your 
enemies  speak  of  you  as  a  just  man.  You  are  known  every- 
where as  a  defender  of  women.  Wherever  a  woman  is  wronged 
by  cruel  and  selfish  men  there  your  name  rings  out  as  her 
friend  and  champion.  Shall  it  be  said  that  in  your  own  person 
you  have  made  an  innocent  woman  suffer  ?  " 

"  If  ...  if  you  give  me  your  solemn  word  of  honour  that 
what  I  said — what  I  implied — was  false,  that  rumour  and 
report  have  slandered  you,  that  it  is  all  a  cruel  and  baseless 
calumny  .  .  ." 

She  raised  her  head,  looked  him  full  in  the  face,  and  with- 
out a  quiver  in  her  voice: 

"  I  do  give  it,"  she  said. 

"  Then  I  believe  you,"  he  answered.  "  With  all  my  heart 
and  soul  I  believe  you." 

He  had  been  thinking.  "  It  is  she !  The  sweetness  of 
childhood  and  of  girlish  innocence  a  little  faded,  a  little  de- 
praved, a  little  changed,  but  it  is  she !  " 

"  This  man  is  a  child,"  she  thought.  "  He  will  believe  any- 
thing I  tell  him."  And  then  she  dropped  her  eyes  again,  and 
turning  with  her  thumb  an  opal  ring  on  her  finger,  she  began 
to  use  the  blandishments  which  had  never  failed  with  other 
men. 

"  I  do  not  say  that  I  am  altogether  without  blame,"  she 
said.  "  I  may  have  lived  a  thoughtless  life  amid  scenes  of 
])overty  and  sorrow.  If  so,  perhaps  it  has  been  partly  the  fault 
of  the  men  about  me.  When  is  a  woman  anything  but  what 
the  men  around  have  made  her  ?  " 

She  dropped  her  voice  almost  to  a  whisper,  and  added : 
"  You  are  the  first  man  who  has  not  praised  and  flattered  me," 

"  I  was  not  thinking  of  you,"  he  said.  "  I  was  thinking 
of  another,  and  perhaps  of  the  poor  working  women  who,  in  a 
v.^orld  of  luxury,  have  to  struggle  and  starve." 

She  looked  up,  and  a  half  smile  crossed  her  face.  It  was 
like  the  smile  of  the  fowler,  when  the  bird  on  the  tree  answers 
to  the  decoy  in  the  grass. 


THE   REPUBLIC   OP  MAN  95 

"  I  honour  you  for  that,"  she  said.  "  And  perhaps  if  I  had 
earlier  met  a  man  like  you  my  life  might  have  been  different. 
I  used  to  hope  for  such  things  long  ago — that  a  man  of  high 
aims  and  noble  purposes  would  come  to  meet  me  at  the  gate 
of  life.  Perhaps  you  have  felt  like  that — that  some  woman, 
strong  and  true,  would  stand  beside  you  for  good  or  for  ill,  in 
your  hour  of  danger  and  your  hour  of  joy? " 

Her  voice  was  not  quite  steady — she  hardly  knew  why. 

"  A  dream !    We  all  have  our  dreams,"  he  said. 

"  A  dream  indeed !  Men  came — he  was  not  among  them. 
They  pampered  every  wish,  indulged  every  folly,  loaded  me 
with  luxuries,  but  my  dream  was  dispelled.  I  respected  few 
of  them  and  reverenced  none.  They  were  my  pastime,  my 
playthings.  And  they  have  revenged  themselves  by  saying  in 
secret  .  .  .  what  you  said  in  public  this  morning." 

He  was  looking  at  her  constantly  with  his  great  wistful 
eyes,  the  eyes  of  a  child,  and  through  all  the  joy  of  her  success 
she  was  conscious  of  a  spasm  of  pain  at  the  expression  of  his 
sad  face  and  the  sound  of  his  tremulous  voice. 

"  We  men  are  much  to  blame,"  he  said.  "  In  the  battle  of 
man  with  man  we  deal  out  blows  and  think  we  are  fighting 
fair,  but  we  forget  that  behind  our  foe  there  is  often  a  woman 
— a  wife,  a  mother,  a  sister,  a  friend — and,  God  forgive  us,  we 
have  struck  her,  too." 

The  half  smile  that  had  gleamed  on  Roma's  face  was  wiped 
out  of  it  by  these  words,  and  an  emotion  she  did  not  understand 
began  to  surge  in  her  throat. 

"  You  speak  of  poor  women  who  struggle  and  starve,"  she 
said.  "  Would  it  surprise  you  to  hear  that  /  know  what  it  is 
to  do  that?  Yes,  and  to  be  friendless  and  alone — quite,  quite 
alone  in  a  cruel  and  wicked  city." 

She  had  lost  herself  for  a  moment,  and  the  dry  glitter  in 
her  eyes  had  given  way  to  a  moistness  and  a  solemn  expression. 
But  at  the  next  instant- she  had  regained  her  self-control,  and 
went  on  speaking  to  avoid  a  painful  silence. 

"  I  have  never  spoken  of  this  to  any  other  man,"  she  said, 
"  I  don't  know  why  I  should  mention  it  to  you — to  you  of  all 
men." 

He  found  no  treachery  in  her  fascinations.  He  only  saw 
his  little  Roma,  the  child  who  lived  in  her  still,  her  innocent 
sister  who  lay  sleeping  within. 

She  had  risen  to  her  feet,  and  he  stepped  up  to  her,  and 
looking  straight  into  her  eyes  he  said: 


06  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Have  you  ever  seen  me  before  ?  " 

"  Never,"  she  answered. 

"  Sit  down,"  he  said.    "  I  have  something  to  say  to  you." 

She  sat  down,  and  a  peculiar  expression,  almost  a  crafty 
one,  came  into  her  face. 

"  You  have  told  me  a  little  of  your  life,"  he  said.  "  Let  me 
tell  you  something  of  mine." 

She  smiled  again,  and  it  was  with  difficulty  that  she  con- 
cealed the  glow  of  triumph  in  her  cheeks.  These  big  children 
called  men  were  almost  to  be  pitied.  She  had  expected  a  fight, 
but  the  man  .had  thrown  up  the  sponge  from  the  outset,  and 
now  he  was  going  to  give  himself  into  her  hands.  Only  for 
that  pathetic  look  in  his  eyes  and  that  searching  tone  in  his 
voice  she  could  have  found  it  in  her  heart  to  laugh. 

She  let  her  cape  drop  back  from  her  shoulders,  revealing  her 
round  bust  and  swan-like  arms,  and  crossing  one  leg  over  the 
other  she  displayed  the  edge  of  a  lace  skirt  and  the  point  of  a 
red  slipper.  Then  she  coughed  a  little  behind  a  perfumed  lace 
handkerchief  and  prepared  to  listen. 

"  You  are  the  daughter  of  an  ancient  family,"  he  said, 
"  older  than  the  house  it  lived  in,  and  prouder  than  a  line  of 
kings.  And  whatever  sorrows  you  may  have  seen,  you  knew 
what  it  was  to  have  a  mother  who  nursed  you  and  a  father  who 
loved  you,  and  a  home  that  was  your  own.  Can  you  realise 
what  it  is  to  have  known  neither  father  nor  mother,  to  be  home- 
less, nameless,  and  alone  ?  " 

She  looked  up — a  deep  furrow  had  crossed  his  brow  which 
she  had  not  seen  there  before. 

"  Happy  the  child,"  he  said,  "  though  shame  stands  beside 
his  cradle,  who  has  one  heart  beating  for  him  in  a  cruel  world. 
That  was  not  my  case.    I  never  knew  my  mother." 

The  mocking  fire  had  died  out  of  Roma's  face,  and  she 
uncrossed  her  knees. 

"  My  mother  was  the  victim  of  a  heartless  man  and  a  cruel 
law.  She  tied  to  her  baby's  wrist  a  paper  on  which  she  had 
written  its  father's  name,  placed  it  in  the  rota  at  the  Foundling 
of  Santo  Spirito,  and  flung  herself  into  the  Tiber." 

Roma  drew  the  cape  over  her  shoulders. 

"  She  lies  in  an  imnamed  pauper's  grave  in  the  Campo 
Verano." 

"  Your  mother?" 

"  Yes.  My  earliest  memory  is  of  being  put  out  to  nurse  at 
a  farmstead  in  the  Campagna.    It  was  the  time  of  revolution; 


THE  REPUBLIC  OP  MAN  97 

the  treasury  of  the  Pope  was  not  yet  replaced  by  the  treasury 
of  the  King,  the  nuns  at  Santo  Spirito  had  no  money  with 
which  to  pay  their  pensions ;  and  I  was  like  a  child  forsaken  by 
its  own,  a  fledgling  in  a  foreign  nest." 

"Oh!" 

"  Those  were  the  days  when  scoundrels  established  abroad 
traded  in  the  white  slavery  of  poor  Italian  boys.  They  scoured 
the  country,  gathered  them  up,  put  them  in  railway  trucks  like 
cattle,  and  despatched  them  to  foreign  countries.  My  foster 
parents  parted  with  me  for  money,  and  I  was  sent  to  Lon- 
don." 

Roma's  bosom  was  heaving,  and  tears  were  gathering  in 
her  eyes. 

"  My  next  memory  is  of  living  in  a  large  half -empty  house 
in  Soho — fifty  foreign  boys  crowded  together.  The  big  ones 
were  sent  out  into  the  streets  with  an  organ,  the  little  ones 
with  a  squirrel  or  a  cage  of  white  mice.  We  had  a  cup  of  tea 
and  a  piece  of  bread  for  breakfast,  and  were  forbidden  to  return 
home  until  we  had  earned  our  supper.  Then — then  the  winter 
days  and  nights  in  the  cold  northern  climate,  and  the  little 
southern  boys  with  their  organs  and  squirrels,  shivering  and 
starving  in  the  darkness  and  the  snow." 

Roma's  eyes  were  filling  frankly,  and  she  was  allowing  the 
tears  to  flow. 

"  Thank  God,  I  have  another  memory,"  he  continued.  "  It 
is  of  a  good  man,  a  saint  among  men,  an  Italian  refugee,  giving 
his  life  to  the  poor,  especially  to  the  poor  of  his  own  people." 

Roma's  labouring  breath  seemed  to  be  arrested  at  that  mo- 
ment. 

"  On  several  occasions  he  brought  their  masters  to  justice 
in  the  English  courts,  until,  finding  they  were  watched,  they 
gradually  became  less  cruel.  He  opened  his  house  to  the  poor 
little  fellows,  and  they  came  for  light  and  Avarmth  between 
nine  and  ten  at  night,  bringing  their  organs  with  them.  He 
taught  them  to  read,  and  on  Sunday  evenings  he  talked  to 
them  of  the  lives  of  the  great  men  of  their  country.  He  is 
dead,  but  his  spirit  is  alive — alive  in  the  souls  he  made  to 
live." 

Roma's  eyes  were  blinded  with  the  tears  that  sprang  to 
them,  and  her  throat  was  choking,  but  she  said : 

"What  was  he?" 

"  A  doctor." 

"  What  was  his  name  ?  " 


98  THE   ETERNAL   CITY 

David  Eossi  passed  his  hand  over  the  furrow  in  his  fore- 
head, and  answered : 

"  They  called  him  Joseph  Roselli." 

Eoma  half  rose  from  her  seat,  then  sank  back,  and  the  lace 
handkerchief  dropped  from  her  hand. 

"  But  I  heard  afterwards — long  afterwards — that  he  was  a 
Roman  noble,  one  of  the  fearless  few  who  had  taken  up  poverty 
and  exile  and  an  unknown  name  for  the  sake  of  liberty  and 
justice." 

Roma's  head  had  fallen  into  her  bosom,  which  was  heaving 
with  an  emotion  she  could  not  conceal. 

"  One  day  a  letter  came  from  Italy,  telling  him  that  a 
thousand  men  were  waiting  for  him  to  lead  them  in  an  in- 
surrection that  was  to  dethrone  an  unrighteous  king.  It 
was  the  trick  of  a  scoundrel  who  has  since  been  paid  the 
price  of  a  hero's  blood.  I  heard  of  this  only  lately — only  to- 
night." 

There  was  silence  for  a  moment.  David  Eossi  had  put  one 
arm  over  his  eyes. 

"  Well  ? " 

"  He  was  enticed  back  from  England  to  Italy ;  an  English 
minister  violated  his  correspondence  with  a  friend,  and  com- 
municated its  contents  to  the  Italian  GoA^ernment;  he  was 
betrayed  into  the  hands  of  the  police,  and  deported  without 
trial." 

Roma  was  clutching  at  the  bodice  of  her  dress  as  if  to  keep 
down  a  cry. 

. "  Was  he  never  heard  of  again  ?  " 

"  Once — only  once — by  the  friend  I  speak  about." 

Roma  felt  dizzy,  as  if  she  were  coming  near  to  some  deep 
places;  but  she  could  not  stop — something  compelled  her  to 
go  on. 

"  Who  was  the  friend  ?  "  she  asked. 

"  One  of  his  poor  waifs — a  boy  who  owed  everything  to 
him,  and  loved  and  revered  him  as  a  father — loves  and  reveres 
him  still,  and  tries  to  follow  in  the  path  he  trod." 

"What — what  was  his  name?" 

"  David  Leone." 

She  looked  at  him  for  a  moment  without  being  able  to 
speak.     Then  she  said: 

"  What  happened  to  him  ?  " 

"  The  Italian  courts  condemned  him  to  death,  and  the 
English  police  drove  him  from  England." 


The  republic  op  man  ^9 

"  Then  he  has  never  been  able  to  return  to  his  own  coun- 
try?" 

"  He  has  never  been  able  to  visit  his  mother's  grave  except 
by  secret  and  at  night,  and  as  one  who  was  perpetrating  a 
crime." 

"  What  became  of  him  ?  " 

"  He  went  to  America." 

"  Did  he  ever  return  ?  " 

"  Yes !  Love  of  home  in  him,  as  in  all  homeless  ones,  was 
a  consuming  passion,  and  he  came  back  to  Italy." 

"Where — where  is  he  tiow?" 

David  Rossi  stepped  up  to  her,  and  said : 

"  In  this  room." 

She  rose 

"  Then  you  are  David  Leone !  " 

He  raised  one  hand : 

"David  Leone  is  dead!^' 

There  was  silence  for  a  moment.  She  could  hear  the 
thumping  of  her  heart.  Then  she  said  in  an  almost  inaudible 
whisper : 

"  I  understand.  David  Leone  is  dead,  but  David  Rossi  is 
alive." 

He  did  not  speak,  but  his  head  was  held  up  and  his  face  was 
shining. 

"  Are  you  not  afraid  to  tell  me  this  ?  " 

"  1^0." 

Her  eyes  glistened  and  her  lips  quivered. 

"  You  insulted  and  humiliated  me  in  public  this  moi-ning, 
yet  you  think  I  will  keep  your  secret  ?  " 

"  I  know  you  will." 

She  felt  a  sensation  of  swelling  in  her  throbbing  heart,  and 
with  a  slow  and  nervous  gesture  she  held  out  her  hand. 

"  May  I  .  .  .  may  I  shake  hands  with  you  ?  "  she  said. 

There  was  a  moment  of  hesitation,  and  then  their  hands 
seemed  to  leap  at  each  other  and  clasp  with  a  clasp  of  fire. 

At  the  next  instant  he  had  lifted  her  hand  to  his  lips  and 
was  kissing  it  again  and  again. 

A  sensation  of  triumphant  joy  flashed  through  her,  and 
instantly  died  way.  She  wished  to  cry  out,  to  confess,  to  say 
something,  she  knew  not  what.  But  David  Leone  is  dead  rang 
in  her  ears,  and  at  the  same  moment  she  remembered  what  the 
impulse  had  been  which  brought  her  to  that  house. 

Then  her  eyes  began  to  swim  and  her  heart  to  fail,  and  she 


100  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

wanted  to  fly  away  without  uttering  another  word.  She  could 
not  speak,  he  could  not  speak;  they  stood  together  on  a  preci- 
pice where  only  by  silence  could  they  hold  their  heads. 

"  Let  me  go  home,"  she  said  in  a  breaking  voice,  and  with 
downcast  head  and  trembling  limbs  she  stepped  to  the  door. 


IX 

Down  to  that  moment  David  Rossi  had  thought  of  Roma 
only  as  the  child  he  knew  seventeen  years  before,  as  the  daugh- 
ter of  Dr.  Roselli,  as  his  friend  and  foster-sister.  But  he 
looked  at  her  again  as  she  passed  him  going  to  the  door,  and 
now  for  the  first  time  he  saw  her,  not  as  the  boy  sees  the  girl, 
but  as  the  man  sees  the  woman.  How  beautiful  she  had  grown ! 
And  she  was  Roma !  His  Roma,  whatever  the  barrier  that  had 
come  between  them !  Something  warm  tingled  through  him  at 
this  thought,  and  looking  at  her  with  new  eyes,  he  was  filled 
with  a  physical  exultation  which  he  had  never  felt  before. 

Reaching  the  door,  she  stopped,  as  if  reluctant  to  leave,  and 
said  in  a  voice  still  soft,  but  coming  more  from  within : 

"  I  wished  to  meet  you  face  to  face,  but  now  that  I  have  met 
you,  you  are  not  the  man  I  thought  you  were." 

"  JSTor  you,"  he  said,  "  the  woman  I  pictured  you." 

A  light  came  into  her  eyes  at  that,  and  she  looked  up  and 
said : 

"  Then  you  had  never  seen  me  before  ?  " 

And  he  answered  after  a  moment : 

"  I  had  never  seen  Donna  Roma  Volonna  until  to-day." 

"  Forgive  me  for  coming  to  you,"  she  said. 

"  I  thank  you  for  doing  so,"  he  replied,  "  and  if  I  have 
sinned  against  you,  from  this  hour  onward  I  am  your  friend 
and  champion.  Let  me  try  to  right  the  wrong  I  have  done  you. 
I  am  ready  to  do  it  if  I  can,  no  matter  at  what  self-abasement. 
T  am  eager  to  do  it,  and  I  shall  never  forgive  myself  until  it  is 
done.  What  I  said  was  the  result  of  a  mistake — let  me  ask 
your  forgiveness." 

"  You  mean  publicly  ?  " 

"  Yes !  At  ten  o'clock  they  send  for  my  article  for  the 
morning's  paper.  To-morrow  morning  I  will  beg  your  pardon 
in  public  for  the  public  insult  I  have  offered  you." 

"  You  are  very  good,  very  brave,"  she  said ;  "  but  no,  I  will 
ask  you  not  to  do  that." 


THE  REPUBLIC   OF   MAN  101 

"  Ah!  I  understand.  I  know  it  is  impossible  to  overtake  a 
lie.  Once  started  it  goes  on  and  on,  like  a  stone  rolling  down- 
hill, and  even  the  man  who  started  can  never  stop  it.  Tell  me 
what  better  I  can  do — tell  me,  tell  me." 

Her  face  was  still  down,  but  it  had  how  a  new  expression 
of  joy. 

"  There  is  one  thing  you  can  do,  but  it  is  difficult." 

"  No  matter !     Tell  me  what  it  is." 

"  I  thought  when  I  came  here  .  .  .  but  it  is  no  matter." 

"  Tell  me,  I  beg  of  you." 

He  was  trying  to  look  into  her  face  again,  and  she  was 
eluding  his  gaze  as  before,  but  now  for  another,  a  sweeter 
reason. 

"  I  thought  if — if  you  would  come  to  my  house  when  my 
friends  are  there,  your  presence  as  my  guest,  in  the  midst  of 
those  in  whose  eyes  you  have  injured  me,  might  be  sufficient  of 
itself  to  wipe  out  everything.    But  .  .  ." 

She  waited  for  his  answer  with  a  beating  heart,  but  at  first 
he  did  not  speak,  and  pretending  to  put  away  the  idea,  she  said : 

"  But  that  is  impossible :  I  cannot  ask  it.  I  know  what  it 
would  mean.     Such  people  are  pitiless — they  have  no  mercy." 

"  Is  that  allf  "  he  said. 

"  Then  you  are  not  afraid  ?  " 

"  Afraid !  " 

For  one  moment  they  looked  at  each  other,  and  their  eyes 
were  shining.  She  was  proud  of  his  power.  This  was  no  child 
after  all,  but  a  man ;  one  who,  for  a  woman's  sake,  could  stand 
up  against  all  the  world. 

"  I  have  thought  of  something  else,"  she  said. 

"What  is  it?" 

"  You  have  heard  that  I  am  a  sculptor.  I  am  making  a 
fountain  for  the  Municipality,  and  if  I  might  carve  your  face 
into  it  .  .  ." 

"  It  would  be  coals  of  fire  on  my  head." 

"  You  would  need  to  sit  to  me." 

"When  shall  it  be?" 

"  To-morrow  morning  to  begin  with,  if  that  is  not  too  soon." 

"  It  will  be  years  on  years  till  then,"  he  said. 

She  bent  her  head  and  blushed.  He  tried  again  to  look  at 
her  beaming  eyes  and  golden  complexion,  and  for  sheer  joy  of 
being  followed  up  she  turned  her  face  away. 

"  Forgive  me  if  I  have  stayed  too  long,"  she  said,  making  a 
feint  of  opening  the  door. 


102  THE   ETERNAL   CITY 

"  I  should  have  grudged  every  moment  if  you  had  gone 
sooner,"  he  answered. 

"  I  only  wished  that  you  should  not  think  of  me  with  hatred 
and  bitterness." 

"  If  I  ever  had  such  a  feeling  it  is  gone." 

"Mine  has  gone  too,"  she  said  softly,  and  again' she  pre- 
pared to  go. 

One  hook  of  her  cape  had  got  entangled  in  the  silk  muslin 
at  her  shoulder,  and  while  trying  to  free  it  she  looked  at  him, 
and  her  look  seemed  to  say,  "  Will  you  ? "  and  his  look  replied, 
"  May  I  ? "  and  at  the  physical  touch  a  certain  impalpable 
bridge  seemed  in  an  instant  to  cross  the  space  that  had  divided 
them. 

"  Let  me  see  you  to  the  door  ?  "  he  said,  and  her  eyes  said 
openly,  "  Will  you  ?  " 

They  walked  down  the  staircase  side  by  side,  going  step  by 
step,  and  almost  touching. 

"  I  forgot  to  give  you  my  address — eighteen  Trinita  de' 
Monti,"  she  said. 

"  Eighteen  Trinita  de'  Monti,"  he  repeated. 

They  had  reached  the  second  storey.  "  I  am  trying  to  re- 
member," she  said.  "  After  all,  I  think  I  have  seen  you  before 
somewhere." 

"  In  a  dream,  perhaps,"  he  answered. 

"  Yes,"  she  said.     "  Perhaps  in  the  dream  I  spoke  about." 

They  had  reached  the  street,  and  Roma's  carriage,  a  hired 
coupe,  stood  waiting  a  few  yards  from  the  door. 

They  shook  hands,  and  at  the  electric  touch  she  raised  her 
head  and  gave  him  in  the  darkness  the  look  he  had  tried  to  take 
in  the  light. 

"  Until  to-morrow  then,"  she  said. 

"  To-morrow  morning,"  he  replied. 

"  To-morrow  morning,"  she  repeated,  and  again  in  the  eye- 
asking  between  them  she  seemed  to  say,  "  Come  early,  will  you 
not  ? — there  is  still  so  much  to  say." 

He  looked  at  her  with  his  shining  eyes,  and  something  of 
the  boy  came  back  to  his  world-worn  face  as  he  closed  the 
carriage  door. 

"  Adieu !  " 

"  Adieu !  " 

She  drew  up  the  window,  and  as  the  carriage  moved  away 
she  smiled  and  bowed  through  the  glass. 

He  stood  a  moment  where  she  had  left  him,  bare-headed  in 


THE  REPUBLIC  OF  MAN  103 

the  piazza  under  the  starlit  sky,  feeling  as  if  the  sun  had  ceased 
to  shine,  and  then  he  turned  to  go  indoors.  Bruno  iu  the  cafe 
was  singing  a  song  against  the  Government,  and  on  a  seat 
under  an  image  of  the  Madonna  with  an  oil  lamp  burning  be- 
fore it,  a  young  man  and  a  girl  were  reading  their  book  of 
dreams.  The  old  Garibaldian  lay  snoring  on  his  sofa  in  the 
lodge,  the  stairs  were  silent,  the  dining-room  was  empty,  and 
Elena  was  moving  about  on  the  floor  above. 

David  Rossi  went  out  on  to  the  roof  again.  He  had  his 
leader  to  write  for  the  morning's  journal,  and  he  must  try  to 
fix  his  mind  on  it.  Rome  was  humming  on  like  a  top  that  sings 
as  it  sleeps.  The  electric  lights  marked  out  the  line  of  the 
Corso,  and  lay  in  broad  sheets  of  moonlight  splendour  over  the 
piazzas  at  either  end,  as  if  the  city  had  been  lit  up  for  a  ball 
and  then  suddenly  deserted.  Soft,  languishing  shadows  lay 
below,  and  the  tremulous  notes  of  a  mandoline  came  from 
some  unseen  place,  with  a  tenor  voice  which  sang  a  love  song 
in  tones  that  quavered  like  a  throstle's. 

Under  the  stars,  so  bright,  so  calm,  he  could  think  of  noth- 
ing but  Roma's  steady  eyes  and  enchanting  smile.  He  re- 
turned to  the  house,  and  passing  into  the  sitting-room,  a  mod- 
ified perfume  hovered  about  him.  The  air  was  full  of  the  sense 
of  a  fascinating  presence  which  was  gone  and  yet  remained. 

Something  white  lay  on  the  floor.  It  was  a  little  lace  hand- 
kerchief, and  in  the  stupefaction  of  his  happiness  he  put  it 
to  his  lips,  and  then  left  stunned  by  some  sudden  thought. 

He  was  saying  to  himself,  "  After  all,  she  is  the  same  as  my 
sister.  She  was  dead  and  is  alive  again,  she  was  lost  and  is 
found,"  when  a  knock  came  to  the  door. 

It  was  the  boy  from  the  printing-ofliee  for  his  article  for 
to-morrow's  paper. 

"  Tell  the  manager  this  is  all  I  have  to-night,"  he  said,  and 
taking  an  envelope  he  inserted  the  signed  manuscript  of  his 
Creed  and  Charter. 


PART   THREE 
ROMA 


The  Piazza  of  Trinita  de'  Monti  takes  its  name  from  a 
church  and  convent  which  stand  on  the  edge  of  the  Pincian 
Hill.  You  pass  through  it,  under  the  long  wall  of  the  convent 
garden,  as  you  go  to  the  public  gardens  of  the  Pincio,  where 
the  municipal  band  plays  in  the  afternoons  of  winter.  Behind 
the  piazza  and  the  church  are  the  broad  acres  of  the  Borghese 
gardens,  with  their  woods  of  yew  and  cypress,  and*  in  front  of  it 
is  the  city,  from  the  green  slopes  of  Monte  Mario,  with  its  stone 
pines  against  the  sky,  to  the  old  Roman  forts  at  the  limits  of 
the  outer  plains.  Palaces,  hovels,  towers,  spires,  and  domes 
lie  framed  as  in  a  picture  below,  within  the  long  ridge  of  the 
Janiculum. 

People  come  to  the  piazza  in  the  afternoon  to  hear  the  nuns 
and  children  of  the  Sacred  Heart  sing  their  office  of  Benedic- 
tion, and  to  watch  the  sun  as  it  sets  in  a  blaze  of  gold  behind  the 
great  dome  of  St.  Peter's,  sending  streaks  of  crimson  up  the 
narrow  streets  like  the  rays  of  a  celestial  nimbus.  A  flight  of 
travertine  steps,  twisted  and  curved  to  mask  their  height,  goes 
down  from  the  church  to  a  diagonal  piazza,  the  Piazza  di 
Spagna,  which  is  always  bright  with  the  roses  of  flower-sellers, 
who  build  their  stalls  around  a  fountain. 

At  the  top  of  these  steps  there  stands  a  house,  four-square 
to  all  winds,  and  looking  every  way  over  Rome.  The  sun  rises 
and  sets  on  it,  the  odour  of  the  flowers  comes  up  to  it  from  the 
piazza,  and  the  music  of  the  band  comes  down  to  it  from  the 
Pincio.  Donna  Roma  occupied  two  floors  of  this  house.  One 
floor,  the  lower  one,  built  on  arches  and  entered  from  the  side 
of  the  city,  was  used  as  a  studio,  the  other  one  as  a  private 
apartment. 

104 


ROMA  105 

Donna  Eoma's  home  consisted  of  ten  or  twelve  rooms  on  the 
second  floor,  opening  chiefly  out  of  a  central  drawing-room 
which  was  furnished  in  red  and  yellow  damask,  papered  with 
velvet  wall-papers,  and  lighted  by  lamps  of  Venetian  glass 
representing  lilies  in  rose-colour  and  violet.  Her  bedroom, 
which  looked  to  the  Quirinal,  was  like  the  nest  of  a  bird  in  its 
pale-blue  satin,  with  its  blue  silk  counterpane  and  its  em- 
broidered cushion  at  the  foot  of  the  bed ;  and  her  boudoir,  which 
looked  to  the  Vatican,  was  full  of  vases  of  malachite  and  the 
skins  of  wild  animals,  and  had  a  bronze  clock  on  the  chimney- 
piece  set  in  a  statue  of  Mephistopheles.  The  only  other 
occupant  of  her  house,  besides  her  servants,  was  a  distant 
kinswoman,  called  her  aunt,  and  known  to  familiars  as  the 
Countess  Betsy;  but  in  the  studio  below,  which  was  connected 
with  the  living  rooms  by  a  circular  staircase,  and  hung  round 
with  masks,  busts,  and  valuable  weapons,  there  was  Bruno 
Rocco,  her  marble-pointer,  the  friend  and  housemate  of  David 
Rossi. 

Her  porter  at  the  door  looked  at  her,  after  the  manner 
of  his  kind,  when  she  drew  up  in  the  hired  coupe  after  her 
visit  to  the  Piazza  Navona,  but  she  was  in  no  mood  for  nice 
observation,  and  when  her  maid,  who  had  scuttled  up  ahead 
from  her  gossiping  place  in  the  lodge,  said  something  in  the 
hall  about  her  aunt,  the  Countess,  she  did  not  hear.  She  went 
direct  to  her  bedroom,  dismissed  her  maid  immediately,  and 
when  her  dog  came  pushing  his  cold  nose  into  her  palm  she 
sent  him  away  without  a  pat. 

Nevertheless  she  did  not  go  to  bed  at  once,  but  sat  long 
without  undressing,  fingering  one  by  one  the  toilet  articles  on 
her  dressing-table,  and  then  brushing  out  her  perfumed  hair, 
coiling  it  up  on  her  head  and  dropping  it  down  again.  The 
three  lights  on  the  Pope's  Loggia,  which  are  put  out  at  ten 
o'clock,  were  long  since  gone,  the  tinkling  of  the  tram-cars 
had  ceased,  and  silence  had  descended  on  the  city;  when  con- 
sulting her  tiny  watch,  she  found  that  she  had  sat  two  hours 
thinking. 

The  woman  within  had  that  night  suffered  a  shock.  She 
had  gone  out  proudly,  gaily,  defiantly,  and  had  come  home 
humiliated,  confused,  and  a  little  ashamed.  But  over  all  other 
senses  there  was  a  certain  delicious  tenderness,  a  tingling  of 
warm  blood,  a  current  of  irresistible  attraction  which  she 
fought  against  in  vain. 

She  slept  badly  and  had  a  painful  dream  of  her  father  in 
8 


106  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

heaven  watching  over  his  daughter  on  earth,  and  knowing  all 
her  thoughts  and  all  her  doings.  This  was  frightening,  and 
she  felt  as  if  she  were  a  criminal  and  a  sinner.  All  night  long 
she  was  haunted  by  big  wistful  eyes,  which  seemed  to  be  her 
father's  eyes,  and  yet  turned  out  to  be  the  eyes  of  David  Rossi. 
They  made  her  feel  as  if  there  were  something  contemptible 
about  her,  and  almost  as  if  she  were  naked.  But  when  she 
awoke  in  the  morning  the  sun  was  streaming  into  the  room, 
the  street  calls  were  coming  up  from  the  piazza,  and  she  was 
able  to  tear  herself  away  from  the  cruel  impressions.  She 
could  smile  at  the  memory  of  her  dream  of  nakedness  and  think 
of  the  experiences  of  the  night  before  as  of  a  drama  at  the 
theatre  which  had  held  her  for  the  time  being  with  a  spell. 

When  the  maid  brought  in  her  tea  she  had  recovered  control 
of  herself,  and  everything  that  happened  thereafter  helped 
her  to  regain  possession  of  the  woman  she  had  been  yesterday. 

"  A  person  in  the  hall  has  brought  this  letter  from  his  Ex- 
cellency," said  the  maid. 

It  was  a  letter  from  the  Baron,  sending  Felice  to  be  her 
servant  according  to  his  promise.  "  As  you  say,  he  is  a  treas- 
ure and  sees  nothing,"  wrote  the  Baron.  "  Don't  look  at  the 
newspapers  this  morning,  my  child,  and  if  any  of  them  send 
to  you  say  nothing." 

Roma  had  scarcely  finished  her  coffee  and  roll  when  a  lady 
journalist  was  announced.  It  was  Lena,  the  rival  of  Olga  both 
in  literature  and  love. 

"  I'm  '  Penelope,'  "  she  said.  "  '  Penelope  '  of  the  Day,  you 
know.  Come  to  see  if  you  have  anything  to  say  in  answer  to 
the  Deputy  Rossi's  speech  yesterday.  Our  editor  is  anxious 
to  give  you  an  opportunity;  and  if  you  would  like  to  reply 
through  me  to  Olga's  shameful  libels  .  .  .  Olga  ?  '  Fieri,'  you 
know.  Haven't  you  seen  her  article?  Here  it  is.  Disgraceful 
insinuations !    No  lady  could  allow  them  to  pass  unnoticed." 

"  Nevertheless,"  said  Roma,  "  that  is  what  I  intend  to  do. 
Good-morning !  " 

Lena  had  barely  crossed  the  doorstep  when  a  more  im- 
portant person  drove  up.  This  was  the  Senator  Palomba, 
Mayor  of  Rome,  a  suave,  oily  man,  with  little  twinkling  eyes. 

"  Come  to  offer  you  my  sympathy,  my  dear !  Scandalous 
libels.  Liberty  of  the  press,  indeed !  Disgraceful !  It's  in 
all  the  newspapers — I've  brought  them  with  me.  One  journal 
actually  points  at  you  personally.  See — *  A  lady  sculptor  who 
has   recently   secured   a   commission   from   the   Municipality 


ROMA  lOY 

through  the  influence  of  a  distinguished  person.'  Most  damag- 
ing, isn't  it  'i  The  elections  so  near,  too !  We  must  publicly 
deny  the  statement.  Ah,  don't  be  alarmed !  Only  a  way  out  of 
a  nest  of  hornets.  Nothing  like  diplomacy,  you  know.  Of 
course  the  Municipality  will  buy  your  fountain  just  the  same, 
but  I  thought  I  would  come  round  and  explain  before  pub- 
lishing anything. 

Roma  said  nothing,  and  the  great  man  backed  himself  out 
with  the  air  of  one  who  had  conferred  a  favour,  but  before 
going  he  had  a  favour  to  ask  in  return. 

"  It's  rumoured  this  morning,  my  dear,  that  the  Govern- 
ment is  about  to  organise  a  system  of  secret  police — and  quite 
right,  too.  You  remember  my  nei^hew,  Charles  Minghelli  ?  I 
brought  him  here  when  he  came  from  Paris.  Well,  Charles 
would  like  to  be  at  the  head  of  the  new  force.  The  very  man ! 
Finds  out  everything  that  happens,  from  the  fall  of  a  pin  to  an 
attempt  at  revolution,  and  if  Donna  Koma  will  only  say  a  word 
for  him  .  .  .  Thanks !  .  .  .  What  a  beautiful  bust !  Yours, 
of  course  ?  A  masterpiece !  Fit  to  put  beside  the  masterpieces 
of  old  Rome.    Council  to-day,  my  dear — adieu !  " 

The  Mayor  was  not  yet  out  of  the  drawing-room  when  a 
third  visitor  was  in  the  hall.  It  was  Madame  Sella,  a  fashion- 
able modiste,  with  social  pretensions,  who  contrived  to  live  on 
terms  of  quasi-intimacy  with  her  aristocratic  customers. 

"  Trvist  I'm  not  de  trop !  I  knew  you  wouldn't  mind  my 
calling  in  the  morning.  What  a  scandalous  speech  of  that 
agitator  yesterday!  Everybody  is  talking  about  it.  In  fact, 
people  say  you  will  go  away.  It  isn't  true,  is  it  ?  No  ?  So 
glad!  So  relieved!  .  .  .By  the  way,  my  dear,  don't  trouble 
about  those  stupid  bills  of  mine,  but  .  .  .  I'm  giving  a  little 
reception  next  week,  and  if  the  Baron  would  only  condescend 
.  .  .  you'll  mention  it?  A  thoiisand  thanks!  Good-morning! 
How  charming  you  look  in  that  simple  gown !  Studio  sack, 
of  course !  To  think  that  mere  alpaca  could  make  any  one  look 
so  lovely !  " 

"  Count  Mario,"  announced  Felice,  and  an  effeminate  old 
dandy  came  tripping  into  the  room.  He  was  Roma's  landlord 
and  the  Italian  ambassador  at  St.  Petersburg. 

"  So  good  of  you  to  see  me,  Donna  Roma.  Such  an  un- 
canonical  hour,  too,  but  I  do  hope  the  Baron  will  not  be  driven 
to  resign  oflice  on  account  of  these  malicious  slanders.  You 
think  not?  So  pleased!  Naturally  a  Minister  is  sensitive 
about  attacks  on  his  private  life.    Anarchists  know  that,  and 


108  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

in  a  country  where  public  opinion  is  so  fickle,  it's  the  oldest 
political  dodge,  you  know.  So  much  for  our  liberal  institu- 
tions !  Always  helping  the  agitators  who  are  inciting  the  peo- 
ple to  the  barricades." 

Then  stepping  to  the  window,  "  What  a  lovely  view !  The 
finest  in  Rome,  and  that's  the  finest  in  Europe!  I'm  always 
saying  if  it  wasn't  Donna  Roma,  I  should  certainly  turn  out  my 
tenant  and  come  to  live  here  myself  .  .  .  That  reminds  me  of 
something.  I'm  .  .  .  well,  I'm  tired  of  Petersburg,  and  I've 
written  to  the  Minister  asking  to  be  transferred  to  Paris,  and 
if  somebody  will  only  whisper  a  word  for  me  .  .  .  How  sweet 
of  you !    Adieu !  " 

Roma  was  sick  of  all  this  insincerity,  and  feeling  bitter 
against  the  person  who  had  provoked  it,  when  an  unseen  hand 
opened  the  door  of  a  room  on  the  Pincio  side  of  the  draw- 
ing-room, and  the  testy  voice  of  her  aunt  called  to  her  from 
within. 

The  old  lady,  who  had  just  finished  her  morning  toilet  and 
was  redolent  of  scented  soap,  reclined  in  a  white  robe  on  a  bed- 
sofa  with  a  gilded  mirror  on  one  side  of  her  and  a  little  shrine 
on  the  other.  Her  face  was  a  face  of  a  thousand  years  ago — 
the  face  of  a  Roman  empress  without  its  power — and  her  hair, 
now  grey,  was  still  frizzled  over  her  fine  head  in  coquettish 
curls.  Her  bony  fingers  were  loaded  with  loose  rings,  and  a 
rosary  hung  at  her  wrist.  A  cat  was  sitting  at  her  feet,  with  a 
gold  cross  suspended  from  its  ribbon. 

"  Ah,  is  it  you  at  last  ?  You  come  to  me  sometimes. 
Thanks !  "  she  said  in  a  withering  whimper.  "  I  thought  you 
might  have  looked  iri  last  night,  and  I  lay  awake  until  after 
midnight." 

"  I  had  a  headache  and  went  to  bed,"  said  Roma. 

"  I  never  have  anything  else,  but  nobody  thinks  of  me," 
said  the  old  lady,  and  Roma  went  over  to  the  window. 

"  I  suppose  you  are  as  headstrong  as  ever  and  still  intend  to 
invite  that  man  in  spite  of  all  my  protests  ? " 

"  He  is  to  sit  to  me  this  morning,  and  may  be  here  at  any 
time,"  said  Roma. 

"  Just  so !  It's  no  use  speaking.  I  don't  know  what  girls 
are  coming  to.  Goodness  knows,  the  world  is  not  so  very  ex- 
acting. It  only  asks  that  people  should  govern  themselves  with 
an  appearance  of  propriety.  When  I  was  young  a  man  like 
that  wouldn't  have  been  allowed  to  cross  the  threshold  of  any 
decent  house  in  Rome.    He  would  have  been  locked  up  in  prison 


ROMA  109 

instead  of  sitting  for  his  bust  to  the  ward  of  the  Prime  Min- 
ister." 

"  Aunt  Betsy,"  said  Eoma,  "  I  want  to  ask  you  a  question." 

"  Be  quick,  then.  My  head  is  coming  on  as  usual.  Nata- 
lina !    Where's  Natalina  ?  " 

"  Was  there  any  quarrel  between  my  father  and  his  family 
before  he  left  home  and  became  an  exile  ?  " 

"  Certainy  not !  Who  said  there  was  ?  Quarrel  indeed  ! 
His  father  was  broken-hearted,  and  as  for  his  mother,  she 
closed  the  gate  of  the  palace,  and  it  was  never  opened  again  to 
the  day  of  her  death.  The  Pope  tried  to  make  peace,  but  your 
father  was  like  you — he  was  too  headstrong.  I^atalina,  give  me 
my  smelling  salts.  And  why  haven't  you  brought  the  cushion 
for  the  cat  ?  " 

"  Still,  a  man  has  to  live  his  own  life,  and  if  my  father 
thought  it  right  .  .  ." 

"  Right  ?  Do  you  call  it  right  to  break  up  a  family,  and, 
being  an  only  son,  to  let  a  title  be  lost  and  estates  go  to  the 
dogs  ? " 

"  I  thought  they  went  to  the  Baron,  auntie." 

"  Roma,  aren't  you  ashamed  to  sneer  at  me  like  that  ?  At 
the  Baron,  too,  in  spite  of  all  his  goodness !  As  for  your  father, 
I'm  out  of  patience.  He  wasted  bis  wealth  and  his  rank,  and 
left  his  own  flesh  and  blood  to  the  mercy  of  others — and  all  for 
what?" 

"  For  country,  I  suppose." 

"  For  fiddlesticks !  For  conceit  and  vanity  and  vainglory. 
Go  away.  My  head  is  fit  to  split.  ISTatalina,  why  haven't  you 
given  me  my  smelling  salts?  And  why  will  you  always  for- 
get to  .  .  ." 

Eoma  left  the  room,  but  the  voice  of  her  aunt  scolding  the 
maid  followed  her  down  to  the  studio. 

Her  dog  was  below,  and  the  black  poodle  received  her  with 
noisy  demonstrations,  but  the  humorous  voice  which  usually 
saluted  her  with  a  cheery  welcome  she  did  not  hear.  Bruno 
was  there,  nevertheless,  but  silent  and  morose,  and  bending  over 
his  work  with  a  sulky  face. 

She  had  no  difficulty  in  understanding  the  change  when  she 
looked  at  her  own  work.  It  stood  on  an  easel  in  a  compart- 
ment of  the  studio  shut  off  by  a  glass  partition,  and  was  a 
head  of  David  Rossi  which  she  had  roughed  out  yesterday. 
Not  yet  feeling  sure  which  of  the  twelve  apostles  around  the 
dish  of  her  fountain  was  the  subject  that  Rossi  should  sit  for, 


110  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

she  had  decided  to  experiment  on  a  bust.  It  was  only  a  sketch, 
but  it  was  stamped  with  the  emotions  that  had  tortured  her, 
and  it  showed  her  that  unconsciously  her  choice  had  been  made 
already.     Her  choice  was  Judas. 

Last  night  she  had  laughed  when  looking  at  it,  and  she  had 
laughed  to  think  how  Rome  would  laugh  if  the  man  could  be 
persuaded  to  sit  to  his  own  fool's  mirror.  But  this  morning 
she  saw  that  it  was  cruel,  impossible,  and  treacherous.  It  was 
also  false  to  the  character  of  David  Rossi,  as  she  saw  him  now, 
and  she  could  forgive  Bruno's  sulkiness  if  it  came  of  having 
seen  it.  But  since  Bruno  had  spied  upon  her  and  talked  of  her 
to  his  friend,  and  since  he  might  talk  of  her  work  as  she  went 
on  with  it,  for  the  future  she  would  turn  the  key  on  her  own 
part  of  the  studio  and  thus  stop  his  chatter. 

A  touch  or  two  at  the  clay  obliterated  the  sinister  expres- 
sion, and,  being  unable  to  do  more  until  the  arrival  of  her 
sitter,  she  sat  down  to  write  a  letter. 

"  My  dear  Baron, — Thanks  for  Cardinal  Felice.  He  will 
be  a  great  comfort  in  this  household  if  only  he  can  keep  the 
peace  with  Monsignor  Bruno,  and  live  in  amity  with  the  Arch- 
bishop of  Porter's  Lodge.  Senator  Tom-tit  has  been  here  to 
suggest  some  astonishing  arrangement  about  my  fountain, 
and  to  ask  me  to  mention  his  nephew,  Charles  Minghelli,  as  a 
fit  and  proper  person  to  be  chief  of  your  new  department  of 
secret  police.  Madame  de  Trop  and  Count  Signorina  have 
also  been,  but  of  their  modest  messages  more  anon. 

"  As  for  D.  R.,  my  barometer  is  *  set  fair,'  but  it  is  likely 
to  be  a  stormier  time  than  I  expected.  Last  night  I  decked 
myself  in  my  best  bib  and  tucker,  and,  in  defiance  of  all  prec- 
edent, went  down  to  his  apartment.  But  the  strange  thing 
was  that  whereas  I  had  gone  to  find  out  all  about  him,  I  hadn't 
been  ten  minutes  in  his  company  before  he  told  all  about  me 
— about  my  father,  at  all  events,  and  his  life  in  London.  I  be- 
lieve he  knew  me  in  that  connection  and  expected  to  appeal  to 
my  filial  feelings.  Did,  too,  so  strong  is  the  force  of  nature, 
and  then  and  thereafter,  and  all  night  long  I  was  like  some- 
body who  had  been  shaken  in  an  earthquake  and  wanted  to  cry 
out  and  confess.  It  was  not  until  I  remembered  what  my 
father  had  been — or  rather  hadn't — and  that  he  was  no  more 
to  mo  than  a  name,  representing  exposure  to  the  cruellest  fate 
a  girl  ever  passed  through,  that  I  recovered  from  the  shock  of 
D.  R.'s  dynamite. 


ROMA  111 

"  He  has  promised  to  sit  to  me  for  his  bust,  and  is  to  come 
this  morning!  Happily  Koma  is  herself  again,  so  please  keep 
away  from  her  for  the  present  and  leave  her  to  deal  alone  with 
Pontifex  Maximus  of  the  Piazza  ISTavona. — Aifectionately, 

"  EOMA. 

"P.S. — My  gentleman  has  good  features,  fine  eyes,  and  a 
wonderful  voice,  and  though  I  truly  believe  he  trembles  at  the 
sight  of  a  woman  and  has  never  been  in  love  in  his  life,  he  has 
an  astonishing  way  of  getting  at  one.  But  I  could  laugh  to 
think  how  little  execution  his  fusillade  will  make  in  this  di- 
rection." 

"Honourable  Rossi!  "  said  Felice's  sepulchral  voice  behind 
her,  and  at  that  moment  David  Rossi  stepped  into  the  studio. 


II 

In  spite  of  her  protestations,  she  was  nervous  and  confused, 
and  she  talked  at  random  for  a  while.  Putting  David  Rossi  to 
sit  in  the  arm-chair  on  the  platform  for  sitters,  she  rattled  on 
about  everything — her  clay,  her  tools,  her  sponge,  and  the 
water  they  had  forgotten  to  change  for  her.  He  must  not  mind 
if  she  stared  at  him— that  wasn't  nice  but  it  was  necessary — and 
he  must  promise  not  to  look  at  her  work  while  it  was  unfinished 
— children  and  fools,  you  know — the  proverb  was  musty. 

And  while  she  talked  she  told  herself  that  Thomas  was  the 
apostle  he  must  stand  for.  These  anarchists  were  all  doubters, 
and  the  chief  of  doubters  was  the  figure  that  would  represent 
them. 

David  Rossi  did  not  speak  much  at  first,  and  he  did  not  join 
in  Roma's  nervous  laughter.  Sometimes  he  looked  at  her  with 
a  steadfast  gaze,  which  would  have  been  disconcerting  if  it 
had  not  been  so  simple  and  childlike.  Then  his  dark  eyes  would 
fall  with  an  apologetic  expression,  and  he  would  sit  a  long  time 
silent,  patting  the  fluffy  head  of  the  dog,  which  had  taken  a 
sudden  fancy  for  him,  and  was  rubbing  its  nose  into  his  side. 
At  length  he  looked  out  of  the  window  to  where  the  city  lay 
basking  in  the  sunshine,  and  birds  were  swirling  in  the  clear 
blue  sky,  and  began  to  talk  of  serious  subjects. 

"  How  beautiful !  "  he  said.  "  No  wonder  the  English  and 
Americans  who  come  to  Italy  for  health  and  the  pleasure  of  art 


112  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

think  it  a  paradise  where  every  one  should  be  content.     And 

yet  .  .  ." 

"Yes?" 

"  Under  the  smile  of  this  God-blessed  land  there  is  suffer- 
ing such  as  can  hardly  be  found  in  any  other  country  of  the 
world." 

"Is  that  so?    Really?" 

"  Heaven  knows  I've  no  great  faith  in  violence,  but  I  don't 
wonder  at  outbreaks  when  I  see  the  poverty  of  this  police- 
ridden  state." 

"  Yes,  I  daresay  the  taxes  .  .  ." 

"  Taxes  on  the  labourer's  wages,  on  his  bread,  on  his  salt,  on 
the  very  air  he  breathes!  State  pawnshops  to  drain  his  last 
drop  of  blood,  and  state  lotteries  to  strip  him  of  the  last  rag 
of  independence !  No  wonder  if  he  sinks  into  every  excess  and 
becomes  a  savage.  I  never  go  by  a  crowded  alley,  where  men 
are  drinking  and  women  are  fighting  and  children  crying  at 
their  mother's  skirts,  without  wanting  to  take  off  my  hat  to 
the  martyrs  of  humanity.  Sometimes  I  think  I  cannot  bear  it 
any  longer,  and  must  go  away,  as  others  have  done." 

"  Head  a  little  higher,  please.  Thanks !  Does  that  mend 
matters — to  go  away  ?  " 

"  Yes,  because  the  angel  of  exile  goes  with  them.  And 
while  their  companions  who  devised  plans  for  turning  the 
world  upside  down  are  sloughing  their  fine  theories  one  by 
one,  or  turning  their  coats  for  the  sake  of  their  pockets,  they  are 
sowing  the  seed  in  foreign  lands — exciting  the  sympathy  of  the 
nations  by  exposing  the  sores  of  their  country." 

"  A  little  more  this  way,  please — thank  you !  That  doesn't 
do  much  for  them,  does  it  ? " 

"  For  them  ?  No !  '  God  comfort  the  poor  exiles — their 
path  is  a  bridge  of  sighs! '  my  old  friend  used  to  say.  Poor, 
friendless,  forgotten,  huddled  together  in  some  dingy  quarter 
of  a  foreign  city,  one  a  music-master,  another  a  teacher  of  lan- 
guages, a  third  a  svipernumerary  at  a  theatre,  a  fourth  an 
organ-man  or  even  a  beggar  in  the  streets,  yet  weapons  in  the 
hand  of  God  and  shaking  the  thrones  of  the  world !  " 

"  You  have  seen  something  of  that,  haven't  you?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  In  London  ?  " 

"  Yes.  There's  an  old  quarter  on  the  fringe  of  the  fashion- 
able district.  It  is  called  Soho.  Densely  populated,  infested 
with  vice,  the  very  sewer  of  the  city,  yet  an  asylum  of  liberty 


ROMA  113 

for  all  that.  The  refugees  of  Europe  fly  to  it.  Its  criminals, 
too,  perhaps ;  for  misery,  like  poverty,  has  many  bedfellows." 

"You  lived  there?" 

"  Yes.  There  is  a  great  public  library  not  far  away — the 
British  Museum.  It  is  the  daily  haunt  of  the  exiles.  They 
are  sure  of  a  seat  and  warmth  in  winter — comforts  often  de- 
nied at  home.  I  can  see  them  still  under  the  big  blue  dome. 
A  shabby  coat  here,  a  shiny  hat  there,  a  quaint  figure  over  yon- 
der. Dreaming  dreams  they  are  never  to  see  realised,  living 
on,  hoping,  buoying  themselves  up  with  visions.  One  day  a 
place  is  empty.  Where's  old  Giuseppe?  Nobody  knows.  At 
last  somebody  hears  that  on  Sunday  afternoon  an  unknown 
man  fell  dead  in  Battersea  Park.  He  was  taken  away  by  the 
police,  and  then  the  crowd  in  Sunday  clothes,  smoking  and 
promenading,  went  on." 

Roma  was  wiping  her  fingers  with  the  sponge,  and  looking 
sideways  out  of  the  window.  "  Your  old  friend.  Doctor  Roselli 
...  he  lived  a  life  like  that  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  He  lived  in  Soho  ?  " 

"  In  Soho  Square  when  I  knew  him  first.  The  house  faced 
to  the  north  and  had  a  porch  and  trees  in  front  of  it." 

Roma  was  still  wiping  her  fingers  as  with  an  unconscious 
movement. 

"  The  surgery  was  on  the  left  of  the  hall,  I  remember.  It 
was  a  cosy  room  and  always  had  a  fire  in  winter.  The  stairs 
went  up  towards  the  south,  and  on  the  first  landing  there  were 
two  doors.  One  was  to  the  bedroom  of  the  doctor's  little 
daughter,  the  other  was  to  a  small  conservatory  fitted  as  a  cage 
for  birds.  There  were  twenty  or  thirty  of  them,  all  canaries, 
and  as  soon  as  the  sun  rose  on  the  glass  roof  they  began  to 
sing.  The  child  must  have  heard  them  when  she  awoke  in  the 
morning." 

The  sponge  had  dropped  to  the  floor,  but  Roma  did  not 
observe  it.  She  took  up  a  tooth-tool  and  began  to  work  on  the 
clay  again. 

"  A  little  more  that  way,  please — thanks !  Do  you  think 
your  friend  had  a  right  to  renounce  his  rank  and  to  break  up 
his  family  in  Italy  ?  Think  of  his  father — he  would  be  broken- 
hearted." 

"  He  was — I've  heard  my  old  friend  say  so.  He  cursed 
him  at  last  and  forbade  him  to  call  himself  his  son." 

"There!" 


114:  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  But  he  would  never  hear  a  word  against  the  old  man. 
*  He's  my  father — that's  enough,'  he  would  say." 

The  tooth-tool,  like  the  sponge,  dropped  out  of  Roma's 
fingers. 

"  How  stupid !    But  his  mother  .  .  ." 

"  That  was  sadder  still.  In  the  early  years  of  his  exile  she 
would  pray  him  to  come  home.  '  You  are  the  best  of  mothers,' 
he  would  answer,  '  but  I  cannot  do  so.'  She  used  to  correspond 
with  him  secretly,  sending  him  money  and  clothes.  He  shared 
the  money  with  his  fellow-exiles  and  pawned  the  clothes  to  buy 
them  bread." 

"  He  never  saw  her  again  ?  " 

"  jSTever,  but  he  worshipped  her  very  name.  It  was  Roma, 
I  remember,  and  she  was  a  tower  of  strength  to  him. 
'  Mothers  !  '  he  used  to  say,  '  if  you  only  knew  your  power !  God 
be  merciful  to  the  wayward  one  who  has  no  mother ! '  " 

Roma's  throat  was  throbbing.  "  He  ...  he  was  mar- 
ried?" 

"  Yes.  His  wife  was  an  Englishwoman,  almost  as  friend- 
less as  himself." 

"  Eyes  the  other  way,  at  the  window — thank  you !  .  .  .  Did 
she  know  who  he  was  ?  " 

"  Nobody  knew.  He  was  only  a  poor  Italian  doctor  to  all  of 
us  in  Soho." 

"  They  .  .  .  they  were  .  .  .  happy  ? " 

"  As  happy  as  love  and  friendship  could  make  them.  And 
even  when  poverty  came  .  .  ." 

"  He  became  pooi- — very  poor  ?  " 

"  Very !  It  got  known  that  Doctor  Roselli  was  a  revolu- 
tionary, and  then  his  English  patients  began  to  be  afraid.  The 
house  in  Soho  Square  had  to  be  given  up  at  last,  and  we  went 
into  a  side  street.  Only  two  rooms  now,  one  to  the  front,  the 
other  to  the  back,  and  four  of  us  to  live  in  them,  but  the  misery 
of  that  woman's  outward  circumstances  never  dimmed  the  radi- 
ance of  her  sunny  soul.     She  was  an  angel,  God  bless  her !  " 

Roma's  bosom  was  heaving  and  her  voice  was  growing 
thick.     "She  .  .  .  died?" 

David  Rossi  bent  his  head  and  spoke  in  short,  jerky  sen- 
tences. "  Her  death  came  at  the  bitterest  moment  of  want. 
It  was  Christmas  time.  Very  cold  and  raw.  We  hadn't  too 
much  at  home  to  keep  us  warm.  She  caught  a  cold  and  it 
settled  on  her  chest.  Pneumonia !  Only  three  or  four  days  al- 
together.   She  lay  in  the  back-room;  it  was  quieter.    The  doc- 


ROMA  115 

tor  nursed  her  constantly.  How  she  fought  for  life !  She  was 
thinking  of  her  little  daughter.  Just  six  years  of  age  at  that 
time,  and  playing  with  her  doll  on  the  floor." 

His  voice  had  enough  to  do  to  control  itself, 

"  When  it  was  all  over  we  went  into  the  front  room  and 
made  our  beds  on  a  blanket  spread  out  on  the  bare  boards. 
Only  three  of  us  now — the  child  with  her  father,  weeping  for 
the  mother  lying  cold  the  other  side  of  the  wall." 

His  eyes  were  still  looking  out  at  the  window.  In  Roma's 
eyes  the  tears  were  gathering. 

"  We  were  nearly  penniless,  but  our  good  angel  was  buried 
somehow.  Oh,  the  poor  are  the  richest  people  in  the  world !  I 
love  them !    I  love  them !  " 

He  put  his  hand  to  his  head.  Roma  could  not  look  at  him 
any  longer. 

"  It  was  in  the  cemetery  of  Kensal  Green.  There  was  a 
London  fog  and  the  grave-diggers  worked  by  torches,  which 
smoked  in  the  thick  air.  But  the  doctor  stood  all  the  time  with 
his  head  uncovered.  The  child  was  there  too,  and  driving  home 
she  looked  out  of  the  window  and  sometimes  laughed  at  the 
sights  in  the  streets.  Only  six — and  she  had  never  been  in  a 
coach  before !  " 

At  that  moment  was  heard  the  boom  of  the  gun  that  is  fired 
from  the  Castle  of  St.  Angelo  at  midday,  and  she  put  down  her 
tools. 

"  If  you  don't  mind,  I'll  not  try  to  do  any  more  to-day,"  she 
said,  in  a  husky  voice.  "  Somehow  it  isn't  coming  right  this 
morning.  It's  like  that  sometimes.  But  if  you  can  come  at 
this  time  to-morrow  .  .  ." 

"  With  pleasure,"  said  David  Rossi,  and  a  moment  later  he 
was  gone. 

She  looked  at  her  work  and  obliterated  the  expression 
again. 

"  Not  Thomas,"  she  thought.  "  John — the  beloved  dis- 
ciple! That  would  fit  him  exactly.  His  mind  was  like  a  pal- 
ace that  is  less  beautiful  in  itself  than  for  some  monument  of 
the  past  that  is  preserved  within  it." 

Her  father !  She  could  see  his  reverent  head  !  The  picture 
was  not  the  one  she  had  been  taught  to  think  about,  but  how 
clear,  how  real ! 

As  she  went  upstairs  to  dress  for  lunch,  Felice  gave  her  an 
envelope  bearing  the  seal  of  the  Prime  Minister,  and  told  her 
the  dog  was  missing. 


116  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

"  He  must  have  followed  Mr.  Rossi,"  said  Roma,  and  with- 
out ado  she  read  the  letter. 

"  Dear  Roma, — A  thousand  thanks  for  suggesting  Charles 
Minghelli.  I  sent  for  him,  saw  him,  and  appointed  him  im- 
mediately. Thanks,  too,  for  the  clew  about  your  father. 
Highly  significant !  I  mentioned  it  to  Minghelli,  and  the  dark 
fire  in  his  eyes  shone  out  instantly.  It  was  light  in  a  dark  place, 
illuminating  something  he  knew  before.  A  propos,  your  Pon- 
tifex  Maximus  of  Piazza  Navona  has  published  a  Bull,  which 
he  calls  his  '  Creed  and  Charter.'  Pull  of  mummery  as  old  as 
the  Vatican,  and  as  near  to  extinction.  If  any  poor  Prime 
Ministers  are  to  be  saved  it  will  be  so  as  by  fire.  I  crossed  myself 
twenty  times  while  reading  it.  Adieu,  my  dear!  You  are  on 
the  right  track !  I  will  observe  your  request  and  not  come  near 
you.  I  will  not  even  ask  you  here,  although  the  echoes  of  my 
old  house  will  be  constantly  crying  '  Roma ! ' — Affectionately, 

"  BONELLI." 


Ill 

K'ext  morning  Roma  found  herself  dressing  with  extraordi- 
nary care.  Her  lovely  figure  showed  full  and  round  in  the  long 
alpaca  sack  which  she  wore  in  the  studio,  and  a  light  silk  coif 
threw  out  the  dark  curling  locks  of  her  graceful  head.  But  her 
heart  was  a  maze  of  many  voices.  She  could  not  tell  which  of 
them  to  listen  to — the  unfamiliar  voices  that  came  with  a  fluid 
tenderness  from  deep  places,  or  the  bitterer  ones  that  were 
always  rising  in  her  throat. 

After  cofl"ee  she  went  into  the  Countess's  room  as  usual. 
The  old  lady  had  made  her  toilet  and  her  cat  was  purring  on  a 
cushion  by  her  side. 

"  Ah,  is  it  you  again  ?  You're  so  busy  downstairs  that  I 
wonder  I  even  see  anything  of  you  now." 

"  Aunt  Betsy,  is  it  true  that  my  father  was  decoyed  back  to 
Italy  by  the  police  ?  " 

"  How  do  I  know  that  ?  But  if  he  was,  it  was  no  more  than 
he  might  have  expected.  He  had  been  breeding  sedition  at  the 
safe  distance  of  a  thousand  miles,  and  it  was  time  he  was 
brought  to  justice.    Besides  .  .  ." 

"Well?" 

"  There  were  the  estates,  and  naturally  the  law  could  not 


/  ROMA  117 

assign  them  to  anybody  else,  while  there  was  no  judgment 
against  your  father." 

"  So  my  father  was  enticed  back  to  Italy  in  the  interests  of 
the  next  of  kin  ?  " 

"  Koma !  How  dare  you  talk  like  that  ?  About  your  best 
friend,  too ! " 

"  I  didn't  say  anything  against  the  Baron,  did  I  ? " 

"  You  would  be  an  ungrateful  girl  if  you  did.  As  for  your 
father,  I'm  tired  of  talking.  Only  for  his  exile  you  would  have 
had  possession  of  your  family  estates  at  this  moment,  and  been 
a  princess  in  your  own  right." 

"  Only  for  his  exile  I  shouldn't  have  been  here  at  all, 
auntie,  and  somebody  else  would  have  been  the  princess,  it 
seems  to  me." 

The  old  lady  dropped  the  perfumed  handkerchief  that  was 
at  her  nose  and  said : 

"  What  do  you  talk  about  downstairs  all  day  long,  miss  ? 
Pretty  thing  if  you  allow  a  man  like  that  to  fill  you  with  his 
fictions.  He  is  a  nice  person  to  take  your  opinions  from,  and 
you  are  a  nice  girl  to  stand  up  for  a  man  who  sold  you  into 
slavery,  as  I  might  say !  Have  you  forgotten  the  baker's  shop 
in  London — or  was  it  a  pastry-cook's,  or  what? — where  they 
made  you  a  drudge  and  a  scullery-maid,  after  your  father  had 
given  you  away  ?  " 

"  Don't  speak  so  loud.  Aunt  Betsy." 

"  Then  don't  worry  me  by  defending  such  conduct.  Ah, 
how  my  head  aches !  Natalina,  where  are  my  smelling  salts  ? 
Katalina !  " 

"  I'm  not  defending  my  father,  but  still  .  .  ." 

"  Should  think  not  indeed  !  If  it  hadn't  been  for  the  Baron, 
who  went  in  search  of  you,  and  found  you  after  you  had  run 
away  and  been  forced  to  go  back  to  your  slave-master,  and  then 
sent  you  to  school  in  Paris,  and  now  permits  you  to  enjoy  half 
the  revenues  of  your  father's  estates,  and  forbids  us  to  say  a 
word  about  his- generosity,  where  would  you  be?  Madonna 
mia?  In  the  streets  of  London,  perhaps,  to  which  your  father 
had  consigned  you !  " 

And  the  old  lady  shuddered  as  if  she  had  peered  down  the 
mouth  of  a  crater. 

"  How  did  the  Baron  prevail  upon  my  slave-master,  as  you 
say,  to  part  with  me?  He  was  no  fool,  and  if  he  knew  who  I 
was,  and  who  my  father  had  been  .  .  ," 

"  Oh,  don't  ask  me.     Natalina !  .  .  .  The  Baron's  no  fool 


118  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

either,  and  he  did  it  somehow.  He  cut  away  that  English 
connection  completely,  and  now  the  mire  and  slime  of  your 
father's  life  troubles  you  no  more.  Ah,  you  come  sometimes, 
Natalina !  Why  do  you  put  everything  .  .  .  What  has  become 
of  .  .  .  Will  you  never  learn  to  .  .  ." 

The  Princess  Bellini  was  waiting  for  Roma  when  she  re- 
turned to  the  drawing-room.  The  little  lady  was  as  friendly  as 
if  nothing  unusual  had  occurred. 

"  Just  going  for  my  walk  in  the  Corso,  my  dear.  You'll 
come?  No?  Ah,  work,  work,  work!  Well,  I've  got  my  work, 
too.  Every  day  something — a  concert,  a  conference,  a  charity 
meeting,  or  a  public  function — and  then  the  omniscient  and 
omnipresent  dressmaker,  you  know.  I  want  to  call  at  Treves' 
for  the  new  novel.  Delightfully  scandalous,  I  hear!  Talking 
of  that,  how  clever  of  you,  my  dear !  " 

The  little  lady  tapped  Eoma's  arm  with  her  pince-nez  and 
lavighed. 

"  Everybody  has  heard  that  he  is  sitting  to  you,  and  every- 
body understands.  That  reminds  me — I've  a  box  at  the  new 
opera  to-morrow  night : — '  Samson  '  at  the  Costanzi,  you  know. 
Only  Gi-gi  and  myself,  but  if  you  would  like  me  to  take  you 
and  to  ask  your  own  particular  Samson  .  .  ." 

Roma,  with  her  eyes  down,  muttered  something  about  the 
Countess. 

"  Oh,  I'll  see  to  that,"  said  the  Princess.  "  The  dear  old 
lady  forgets  her  own  young  days,  when  she  ran  away  with  the 
little  lieutenant  who  robbed  her  of  her  jewels,  and  left  her 
without  husband  or  lover,  or  a  penny  to  bless  herself  with." 

"Honourable  Rossi,"  said  Felice  at  the  door,  and  David 
Rossi  entered  the  room,  with  the  black  poodle  bounding  before 
him. 

"  I  must  apologise  for  not  sending  back  the  dog,"  he  said. 
"  It  followed  me  home  yesterday,  but  I  thought  as  I  was  com- 
ing to-day  .  .  ." 

"  Black  has  quite  deserted  me  since  Mr.  Rossi  appeared," 
said  Roma,  and  then  she  introduced  the  deputy  to  the  Princess. 

The  little  lady  was  effusive.  "  I  was  just  saying,  Honour- 
able Rossi,  that  if  you  would  honour  my  box  at  the  opera  to- 
night .  .  ." 

David  Rossi  glanced  at  Roma. 

"  Oh,  yes,  Donna  Roma  is  coming,  and  if  you  will  .  .  ." 

"  With  pleasure,  Princess." 

"  That's  charming !     After  the  opera  we'll  have  supper  at 


ROMA  119 

the  Grand  Hotel.  Good-day !  "  said  the  Princess,  and  then  in  a 
low  voice  at  the  door,  "  I  leave  you  to  your  delightful  duties, 
my  dear.  You  are  not  looking  so  well,  though.  Must  be  the 
scirocco.  My  poor  dear  husband  used  to  suffer  from  it  shock- 
ingly.   Adieu !  " 

Eoma  was  less  confused  but  just  as  nervous  when  she  settled 
to  her  work  afresh,  and  as  often  as  David  Rossi  looked  at  her 
with  his  dark,  wistful  eyes  under  their  long  black  lashes,  she 
heard  that  voice  of  fluid  tenderness  speaking  to  her  again. 
Nevertheless  the  other  woman  in  her  heart  fought  hard,  re- 
fusing to  be  caught  like  a  sentimental  simpleton  in  the  current 
of  personal  attraction. 

"  I've  been  thinking  all  night  long  of  the  story  you  told  me 
yesterday,"  she  said.  "  No,  that  way,  please — eyes  as  before — 
thank  you!  About  your  old  friend,  I  mean.  He  was  a  good 
man — I  don't  doubt  that — but  he  made  everybody  suffer.  Not 
only  his  father  and  mother,  but  his  wife  also.  Has  anybody  a 
right  to  sacrifice  his  flesh  and  blood  to  a  work  for  the  world  ? " 

"  Christ  did  it,"  said  David  Rossi.  "  There  never  was  a 
martyr  to  country  or  religion  but  had  to  sacrifice  the  individual 
to  the  universal.  When  a  man  has  taken  up  a  mission  for 
humanity  his  kindred  must  reconcile  themselves  to  that." 

"  Yes,  but  a  child,  one  who  cannot  be  consulted,  yet  has  to 
suffer  all  the  same.  Your  friend's  daughter,  for  example.  She 
was  to  lose  everything — her  father  himself  at  last.  How  could 
he  love  her  ?    I  suppose  you  would  say  he  did  love  her." 

"Love  her?  He  lived  for  her.  She  was  everything  on 
earth  to  him,  except  the  one  thing  to  which  he  had  dedicated 
his  life." 

A  half  smile  parted  her  lovely  lips. 

"  When  her  mother  was  gone  he  was  like  a  miser  who  had 
been  robbed  of  all  his  jewels  but  one.  and  the  love  of  father, 
mother,  and  wife  seemed  to  gather  itself  up  in  the  child." 

The  lovely  lips  had  a  doubtful  curve. 

"  How  bright  she  was,  too !  I  can  see  her  still  in  the  dingy 
London  house  with  her  violet  eyes  and  coal-black  hair  and 
happy  ways— a  gleam  of  the  sun  f  I'om  our  sunny  Italy." 

She  looked  at  him.  His  face  was  calm  and  solemn.  Did  he 
really  know  her  after  all  ?    She  felt  her  cheeks  flush  and  tingle. 

"  And  yet  he  left  her  behind  to  come  to  Italy  on  a  hopeless 
errand,"  she  said. 

"  He  did." 

"  How  could  he  know  what  would  happen?  " 


120  'i'HK   Kl'EKJSIAL   CITY 

"  He  couldn't,  and  that  troubled  him  most  of  all.  He  lived 
in  constant  fear  of  being  taken  away  from  his  daughter  before 
her  little  mind  was  stamped  with  the  sense  of  how  much  he 
loved  her.  Delicious  selfishness!  Yet  it  was  not  altogether 
selfish.  The  world  was  uncharitable  and  cruel,  and  in  the 
rough  chance  of  life  it  might  even  happen  that  she  would  be  led 
to  believe  that  because  her  father  gave  her  away,  and  left  her, 
he  did  not  love  her.    That  would  be  terrible  to  her,  too !  " 

Roma  looked  up  again.    His  face  was  still  calm  and  solemn. 

"  He  gave  her  away,  you  say  ?  " 

"  Yes.  When  the  treacherous  letter  came  from  Italy  he 
could  not  resist  it.  It  was  like  a  cry  from  the  buried-alive 
calling  upon  him  to  break  down  the  door  of  their  tomb.  But 
what  could  he  do  with  the  child?  To  take  her  with  him  was 
impossible.  A  neighbour  came — a  fellow  countryman — he  kept 
a  baker's  shop  in  the  Italian  quarter.  '  I'm  only  a  poor  man,* 
he  said, '  but  I've  got  a  little  daughter  of  the  same  age  as  yours, 
and  two  sticks  will  burn  better  than  one.  Give  the  child  to  me 
and  do  as  your  heart  bids  you ! '  It  was  like  a  light  from 
heaven.    He  saw  his  way  at  last." 

Roma  listened  with  head  aside.  The  years  of  her  childhood 
M^ere  swarming  back  on  her. 

"  One  day  he  took  the  child  and  washed  her  pretty  face  and 
combed  her  glossy  hair,  telling  her  she  was  going  to  see  another 
little  girl  and  would  play  Avith  her  always.  And  the  child  was 
in  high  glee  and  laughed  and  chattered  and  knew  no  difference. 
It  was  evening  when  we  set  out  for  the  stranger's  house,  and  in 
the  twilight  of  the  little  streets  happy-hearted  mothers  were 
calling  to  their  children  to  come  in  to  go  to  bed.  The  Doctor 
sent  me  into  a  shop  to  buy  a  cake  for  the  little  one,  and  she  ate 
it  as  she  ran  and  skipped  by  her  father's  side." 

Roma  was  holding  her  breath.  Every  word  seemed  to  waken 
a  memory  and  to  reveal  a  track  that  had  been  long  years  lost. 

"  The  baker's  shop  was  poor  but  clean,  and  his  oAvn  little  girl 
was  playing  on  the  hearthrug  with  her  cups  and  saucers.  And 
before  we  were  aware  of  it  two  little  tongues  were  cackling  and 
gobbling  together,  and  the  little  back  parlour  was  rippling  over 
with  a  merry  twitter.  The  Doctor  stood  and  looked  down  at 
the  children,  and  his  eyes  shone  with  a  glassy  light.  '  You  are 
very  good,  sir,'  he  said,  *  but  she  is  good,  too,  and  she'll  be 
a  great  comfort  and  joy  to  you  always.'  And  the  man  said, 
*  She'll  be  as  right  as  a  trivet,  Doctor,  and  you'll  be  right  too — 
you'll  be  made  triumvir  like  Mazzini,  when  the  republic  is  pro- 


ROMA  121 

claimed,  and  then  you'll  send  for  the  child,  and  for  me,  too,  I 
daresay.'  But  I  could  see  that  the  Doctor  was  not  listening. 
*  Let  us  slip  away  now,'  I  said,  and  we  stole  out  somehow."  • 

Roma's  eyes  were  moistening,  and  the  little  tool  was  trem- 
bling in  her  hand. 

"  I  led  him  through  the  dark  streets  home,  but  when  we  got 
there  the  rooms  were  so  lonely  and  silent.  He  found  a  broken 
doll  on  the  floor,  I  remember,  and  the  pain  of  that  little  me- 
mento of  the  child  was  almost  too  much  for  him.  He  wanted 
to  keep  it,  and  lock  it  away,  yet  he  wanted  to  give  it  back  too. 
It  was  the  old  struggle  over  again — the  child  and  his  country, 
the  doll  and  the  child." 

The  tears  that  had  gathered  in  Roma's  eyes  were  flowing 
frankly.    She  permitted  them  to  flow. 

"  Nothing  would  serve  at  last  but  he  must  take  it  back  to 
the  little  one,  so  we  returned  to  the  baker's  shop.  The  child 
had  gone  to  bed  by  that  time.  Would  he  go  upstairs  and  take 
a  last  look  at  her  asleep  ?  No,  thank  you,  he  didn't  think  he 
would,  but  I  could  see  that  his  throat  was  throbbing.  So  he 
stood  at  the  street  door,  and  lowering  his  voice,  as  if  the  sleep- 
ing child  might  hear,  he  said,  '  Give  her  this  when  she  awakes 
in  the  morning — it  will  comfort  her,  poor  thing ! '  And  like  a 
guilty  one  he  hurried  away." 

There  was  silence  for  some  moments,  and  then  from  with- 
out, muffled  by  the  walls  it  passed  through,  there  came  the 
sound  of  voices.  The  nuns  and  children  of  Trinita  de'  Monti 
were  singing  their  Benediction — Ora  pro  nobis! 

"1  don't  think  I'll  do  any  more  to-day,"  said  Roma.  "  The 
light  is  failing  me,  and  my  eyes  .  .  ." 

"  The  day  after  to-morrow,  then,"  said  Rossi,  rising. 

"  But  do  you  really  wish  to  go  to  the  opera  to-morrow 
night?" 

He  looked  steadfastly  into  her  face  and  answered  "  Yes." 

She  understood  him  perfectly.  He  had  sinned  against  her 
and  he  meant  to  atone.  She  could  not  trust  herself  to  look  at 
him,  so  she  took  the  damp  cloth  and  turned  to  cover  up  the 
clay.    When  she  turned  back  he  was  gone. 

She  went  up  to  her  bedroom  and  lay  face  downward  on  the 
bed.  The  sweet,  pure  voices  of  the  children  followed  her.  Ora 
pro  nohis!    Ora  pro  nobis! 

When  she  rose  the  struggle  was  over.  A  dead  body  of  hate 
which  she  had  carried  in  her  heart  for  years  had  fallen  away. 
She  had  buried  it.  It  was  gone.  The  church  bells  were  strik- 
9 


122  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

iug  the  first  hour  of  night,  but  it  seemed  to  her  like  the  first 
hour  of  day. 

•  After  dinner  she  replied  to  the  Baron's  letter  of  the  day 
before. 

"  Dear  Baron, — I  have  misgivings  about  being  on  the  right 
track,  and  feel  sorry  you  have  set  Minghelli  to  vpork  so  soon. 
Do  Prime  Ministers  appoint  people  at  the  mere  mention  of 
their  names  by  wards,  second  cousins,  and  lady  friends  gener- 
ally? Wouldn't  it  have  been  wise  to  make  inquiries?  What 
was  the  fault  for  which  Minghelli  was  dismissed  in  London? 
A  Secretary  of  Legation  is  a  biggish  person  to  be  dismissed  so 
suddenly.  And  now  that  I  come  to  think  of  it,  I  thought  his 
face  forbidding,  dark,  close,  saturnine,  with  the  nose  of  an 
eagle  and  the  eyes  of  a  fox. 

"  As  for  D.  R.,  I  must  have  been  mistaken  about  his  know- 
ing me.  He  doesn't  seem  to  know  me  at  all,  and  I  believe  his 
shot  at  me  by  way  of  my  father  was  a  fluke.  At  all  events,  I'm 
satisfied  that  it  is  going  in  the  wrong  direction  to  set  Minghelli 
on  his  trail.    Leave  him  to  me  alone. — Yours, 

"  Roma. 

"  P.S. — Princess  Potiphar  and  Don  Saint  Joseph  are  to 
take  me  to  the  new  opera  to-morrow  night.  D.  R.  is  also  to  be 
there,  so  he  will  be  seen  with  me  in  public ! 

"  I  have  begun  work  on  King  David  for  a  bust.  He  is  not 
so  wonderfully  good-looking  when  you  look  at  him  closely." 


IV 

The  little  Princess  called  for  Roma  the  following  night,  and 
they  drove  to  the  opera  in  her  magnificent  English  carriage. 
Already  the  theatre  was  full  and  the  orchestra  was  tuning  up. 
With  the  movement  of  people  arriving  and  recognising  each 
other  there  was  an  electrical  atmosphere  which  affected  every- 
body. Don  Camillo  came,  oiled  and  perfumed,  and  when  he 
had  removed  the  cloaks  of  the  ladies  and  they  took  their  places 
in  the  front  of  the  box,  there  was  a  slight  tingling  all  over  the 
house.  This  pleased  the  little  Princess  immensely,  and  she 
began  to  sweep  the  place  with  her  opera-glass. 

"  Crowded  already !  "  she  said.  "  And  every  face  looking 
up  at  my  box !  That's  what  it  is  to  have  for  your  companion 
Ihe  most  beautiful  and  the  most  envied  girl  in  Rome.     What 


ROMA  123 

a  sensation !  Nothing  to  what  it  will  be,  though,  when  your 
illustrious  friend  arrives." 

At  that  moment  David  Eossi  appeared  at  the  back,  and  the 
Princess  welcomed  him  effusively. 

"  So  glad !  So  honoured !  Gi-gi,  let  me  introduce  you — ■ 
Honourable  Rossi,  Don  Camillo  Luigi  Murelli." 

Eoma  looked  at  him — he  had  an  air  of  distinction  in  a 
dress  coat  such  as  comes  to  one  man  in  a  thousand.  He 
looked  at  Roma — she  wore  a  white  gown  with  violets  on  one 
shoulder  and  two  rows  of  pearls  about  her  beautiful  white 
throat.  The  Princess  looked  at  both  of  them,  and  her  little 
eyes  twinkled. 

"  Never  been  here  before,  Mr.  Rossi  ?  Then  you  must  allow 
me  to  explain  everything.  Take  this  chair  between  Roma  and 
myself.  No,  you  must  not  sit  back.  You  can't  mind  observa- 
tion— so  used  to  it,  you  know." 

Without  further  ado  David  Rossi  took  his  place  in  front  of 
the  box,  and  then  a  faint  commotion  passed  over  the  house. 
There  were  looks  of  surprise  and  whispered  comments,  and 
even  some  trills  of  laughter. 

He  bore  it  without  flinching,  as  if  he  had  come  for  it  and 
expected  it,  and  was  taking  it  as  a  penance  for  a  fault. 

Roma  dropped  her  head  and  felt  ashamed,  but  the  little 
Princess  went  on  talking.  "  These  long  boxes  on  each  side 
of  the  stage  are  called  Barcaccie.  The  one  on  the  left  is  kept 
for  officers,  you  see,  and  the  one  on  the  right  for  gentlemen  of 
society  without  ladies.  These  boxes  on  the  first  tier  are  occu- 
pied by  Roman  society  generally,  those  on  the  second  tier 
mainly  by  the  diplomatic  corps,  and  the  stalls  are  filled  by  all 
sorts  and  conditions  of  people— political  people,  literary  peo- 
ple, even  tradespeople  if  they're  rich  enough  or  can  pretend 
to  be." 

"  And  the  upper  circles  ?  "  asked  Rossi. 

"  Oh,"  in  a  tired  voice,  "  professional  people,  I  think — 
Collegio  Romano  and  University  of  Rome,  you  know." 

"And  the  gallery?" 

"  Students,  I  suppose."  Then  eagerly,  after  bowing  to 
somebody  below,  "  Gi-gi,  there's  Lu-lu.  Don't  forget  to  ask 
him  to  supper.  .  .  .  All  the  beautiful  young  men  of  Rome  are 
here  to-night,  Mr.  Rossi,  and  presently  they'll  pay  a  round  of 
calls  on  the  ladies  in  the  boxes." 

Again  the  Princess  bowed  to  somebody  below,  and  said  in  a 
lively  voice,  "  Roma,  there's  Count  Coriolanus  .  .  .  We  call 


124  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

him  the  first  sword  of  Italy,  Mr.  Rossi.  He  has  fought  thirty- 
three  duels,  and  as  that  is  exactly  the  number  of  the  years  of 
our  Lord  .  .  ." 

The  voice  of  the  Princess  was  suddenly  drowned  by  the 
sharp  tap  of  the  conductor,  followed  by  the  opening  blast  of  the 
overture.  Then  the  lights  went  down  and  the  curtain  rose,  but 
still  the  audience  kept  up  a  constant  movement  in  the  lower 
regions  of  the  house,  and  there  was  an  almost  unbroken  chat- 
ter. Only  at  certain  moments  was  there  a  short  hush,  and  then 
the  low  hum  of  gossip  began  again. 

The  curtain  fell  on  the  first  act  without  anybody  knowing 
what  the  opera  had  been  about,  except  that  Samson  loved  a 
woman  named  Delilah,  and  the  lords  of  the  Philistines  were 
tempting  her  to  betray  him.  Students  in  the  gallery,  recognis- 
able by  their  thin  beards,  shouted  across  at  each  other  for  the 
joy  of  shouting,  and  spoke  by  gestures  to  their  professors  below. 
People  all  over  the  house  talked  gaily  on  social  subjects,  and 
there  was  much  opening  and  shutting  of  the  doors  of  boxes. 
The  beautiful  young  man  called  Lu-lu  came  to  pay  his  re- 
spects to  the  Princess,  and  there  was  a  good  deal  of  gossip  and 
laughter. 

Meantime  David  Rossi  sat  silent,  and  at  length  Roma  spoke 
to  him. 

"  I'm  afraid  you  think  our  audiences  very  ill-mannered," 
she  said. 

"  The  humblest  audience  in  Trastevere,  Whitechapel,  or  the 
Bowery  would  behave  better,"  he  answered. 

And  then  Don  Camillo  bit  his  lips  and  said : 

"  Excellent  idea  to  make  Samson  the  hero  of  an  opera ! 
Exactly  in  the  spirit  of  the  times,  you  know !  Everything  has 
to  be  on  a  large  scale  nowadays — nations,  empires,  wars,  every- 
thing !  The  Pope  himself  knew  that  when  he  dreamed  of  the 
Holy  Roman  Empire,  and  if  you  are  only  starting  a  penny  ton- 
tine that  must  be  big  too.  It  must  be  international,  you  know ; 
it  must  take  the  name  of  humanity,  and  its  creed  and  charter 
must  be  a  sort  of  world-political  testament.  Oh,  it  would  be 
quite  unfashionable  not  to  be  afflicted  with  megalomania  in 
these  days,  and  I  only  hope,"  with  a  look  at  the  little  Princess, 
"  that  the  craze  for  big  things  will  mercifully  stop  before  it 
affects  us  with  big  women." 

But  the  effect  of  the  speech  was  a  little  spoilt  by  an  incident 
which  created  more  sensation  than  the  opera.  This  was  the 
arrival  of  the  Prime  Minister,  whose  appearance  provoked  some 


ROMA  125 

applause,  which  was  succeeded  by  further  glances  at  the  Prin- 
cess's box,  and  even  some  audible  tittering. 

The  second  act  was  more  dramatic  than  the  first,  showing 
Samson  in  his  character  as  a  warrior,  and  when  the  curtain 
came  down  again.  General  Morra,  the  Minister  of  War,  visited 
the  Princess's  box. 

"  So  you're  taking  lessons  in  the  art  of  war  from  the  profes- 
sor who  slew  an  army  with  the  jaw-bone  of  an  ass?  "  said  Don 
Camillo. 

"  Wish  we  could  enlist  a  few  thousands  of  him — jaw-bones 
as  well,"  said  the  General.  "  The  gentleman  might  be  worth 
having  at  the  War  Office,  if  it  was  only  as  a  jettatura" 

"  But  I  thought  you  had  evil  eyes  enough  at  Monte  Citorio, 
judging  by  the  storm  of  newspapers  always  beating  down  on 
you.  Aren't  they  telling  you  that  your  militarism  will  destroy 
itself  by  its  own  strength,  as  our  friend  Samson  is  going  to 
do  presently  ? " 

"  Militarism  is  not  the  only  thing  that  is  to  come  to  an  end, 
it  seems,"  said  the  General. 

"  Oh,  no !  In  the  millennium  that  is  coming  there  are  to  be 
no  operas,  no  arts,  no  balls,  no — anything.  These  millenna- 
rians  are  merciless — they  leave  us  nothing  nowadays  but  some 
acres  in  Arcadia  and  a  cow." 

"  Don't  let  us  think  of  it,"  laughed  the  Princess.  "  The 
Roman  soul  shudders  at  the  prospect.  I'm  going  to  buy  a 
big  candle  for  the  Madonna  at  St.  Agostino's  and  ask  her 
to  protect  us." 

"  Sleep  well !  These  days  will  pass,"  said  the  General,  ris- 
ing. And  then  in  a  low  voice  to  the  Princess,  with  a  glance 
at  Roma,  "  Your  beautiful  young  friend  doesn't  look  so  well 
to-night." 

The  Princess  shrugged  her  shoulders.  "  Of  the  pains  of 
love  one  suffers  but  does  not  die."  she  whispered. 

"  You  surely  cannot  mean  .  .  ." 

The  Princess  put  the  tip  of  her  fan  to  his  lips  and  laughed. 

David  Rossi  spoke  little,  and  as  often  as  Roma  looked  at 
him  the  natural  buoyancy  of  her  natui-e  sank  under  a  sense  of 
shame.  He  was  going  through  this  penance  for  her  sake.  He 
could  crush  these  butterflies  in  the  palm  of  his  hand,  yet  he 
was  submitting  in  silence  to  their  innuendoes. 

Roma  was  conscious  of  a  strange  conflict  of  feelings.  The 
triumph  she  had  promised  herself  by  David  Rossi's  presence 
with  her  in  public — the  triumph  over  the  envious  ones  who 


126  THE   ETERNAL  CITY 

would  have  rejoiced  in  her  downfall — brought  her  no  pleas- 
ure. 

The  third  act  dealt  with  the  allurements  of  Delilah,  and  was 
received  with  a  good  deal  of  laughter. 

"  Ah,  these  sweet,  round,  soft  things — they  can  do  anything 
they  like  with  the  giants,"  said  Don  Camillo.  "  Talk  of  woman 
being  unrecognised  by  the  laws — she  makes  them !  And  in  the 
lists  of  Ministers  of  every  civilised  state  women's  names  ought 
to  be  everywhere,  Minister  of  the  Interior — Donna  Delilah. 
Minister  of  Finance  .  .  ." 

"  Gi-gi !  "  protested  the  Princess,  but  she  was  choking  with 
laughter. 

The  Baron,  who  had  dined  with  the  King,  came  round  at  the 
end  of  the  act,  wearing  a  sash  diagonally  across  his  breast,  with 
crosses,  stars,  and  other  decorations.  He  bowed  to  David  Rossi 
with  ceremonious  politeness,  greeted  Don  Camillo  familiarly, 
kissed  the  hand  of  the  Princess,  and  offered  his  arm  to  Roma  to 
take  her  into  the  corridor  to  cool — she  was  flushed  and  over- 
heated. 

"  I  see  you  are  getting  on,  my  child !     Excellent  idea  to  , 
bring  him  here !     Everybody  is  saying  you  cannot  be  the  per- 
son he  intended,  so  his  trumpet  has  brayed  to  no  purpose." 

"  You  received  my  letters?  "  she  said  in  a  faltering  voice. 

"  Yes,  but  don't  be  uneasy.  I'm  neither  the  prophet  nor 
the  son  of  a  prophet  if  we  are  not  on  the  right  track.  What 
a  fortunate  thought  about  the  man  Minghelli !  An  inspira- 
tion !  You  asked  what  his  fault  was  in  London — forgery,  my 
dear !  " 

"  That's  serious  enough,  isn't  it  ?  " 

"  In  a  Secretary  of  Legation,  yes,  but  in  a  police  agent  .  .  ." 

He  laughed  significantly,  and  she  felt  her  skin  creep. 

"  Has  he  found  out  anything  'i  "  she  asked. 

"  Not  yet,  but  he  is  clearly  on  the  trace  of  great  things.  It 
is  nearly  certain  that  your  King  David  is  a  person  wanted  by 
the  law." 

Her  hand  twitched  at  his  arm,  but  they  were  turning  at  the 
end  of  the  corridor  and  she  pretended  to  trip  over  her  train. 

"  Some  clues  missing  still,  however,  and  to  find  them  we 
are  sending  Minghelli  to  London." 

"  London?    Anything  connected  with  my  father?  " 

"  Possibly !  We  shall  see.  But  there's  the  orchestra  and 
here's  your  box !  You're  wonderful,  my  dear !  Already  you've 
undone  the  mischief  he  did  you,  and  one  half  of  your  task  is 


ROMA  127 

accomplished.  Diplomatists !  Pshaw !  We'll  all  have  to  go  to 
school  to  a  girl !    Adieu !  " 

All  through  the  next  act  Roma  seemed  to  feel  a  sting  on  her 
arm  where  the  Baron  had  touched  it,  and  she  was  conscious  of 
colouring  up  when  the  Princess  said : 

"  Everybody  is  looking  this  way,  my  dear !  See  what  it  is 
to  be  the  most  talked  of  girl  in  Rome !  " 

And  then  she  felt  David  Rossi's  hand  on  the  back  of  her 
chair,  and  heard  his  soft  voice  saying : 

"  The  light  is  in  your  eyes,  Donna  Roma.  Let  me  change 
places  with  you  for  a  while." 

After  that  everything  passed  in  a  kind  of  confusion.  She 
heard  somebody  say : 

"  He's  putting  a  good  deal  of  heart  into  it,  poor  thing !  " 

And  somebody  answered,  "  Yes,  of  broken-heart  appar- 
ently." 

Then  there  was  a  crash  and  the  opera  was  over,  and  she  was 
going  out  in  a  crowd  on  David  Rossi's  arm,  and  feeling  as  if 
she  would  fall  if  she  dropped  it. 

The  magnificent  English  carriage  drew  up  under  the  portico 
and  all  four  of  them  got  into  it. 

"  Grand  Hotel !  "  cried  Don  Camillo.  Then  dropping  back 
to  his  place  he  laughed  and  chanted : 

"  And  the  dead  he  slew  at  his  death  were  more  than  he  slew 
in  his  life  .  .  .  and  he  judged  Israel  twenty  years." 

Y 

A  MARSHY  air  from  the  Campagna  shrouded  the  city  as  with 
a  fog,  and  pierced  through  the  closed  windows  of  the  carriage, 
but  there  was  warmth  and  glow  in  the  Grand  Hotel.  Passing 
through  an  outer  room  under  a  glass  roof  where  men  (and  some 
women)  sat  smoking  cigarettes  and  sipping  coffee,  the  company 
came  to  an  inner  restaurant,  decorated  in  -white  and  gold,  and 
blazing  with  electric  lights  and  many  mirrors.  About  little 
round  tables  small  groups  were  already  gathered,  and  fresh 
parties  were  constantly  arriving. 

One  woman  after  another  came  in  clothed  in  diamonds 
under  the  fur  cloak  which  hung  over  her  bare  arms  and 
shoulders,  until  the  room  was  a  dazzling  blaze  of  jewels.  As 
each  party  entered  their  names  were  whispered  by  those  who 
were  already  seated,  and  the  newcomers  carried  themselves  with 
the  air  of  persons  conscious  of  observation. 


128  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

People  caught  each  other's  eyes  through  lorgnettes  and 
eyeglasses,  and  there  were  constant  salutations.  The  men 
chattered,  the  women  laughed,  and  there  was  an  affectation  of 
baby-talk  at  nearly  every  table.  Then  supper  was  served, 
glasses  were  held  up  as  signals,  and  bright  eyes  began  to  play 
about  the  room,  until  the  atmosphere  was  tingling  with  electric 
currents  and  heated  by  human  passion. 

Roma  sat  facing  the  Princess.  She  was  still  confused  and 
pre-occupied,  but  when  rallied  upon  her  silence  she  brightened 
up  for  a  moment  and  tried  to  look  buoyant  and  happy.  David 
Rossi,  who  was  on  her  left,  was  still  quiet  and  collected,  but 
bore  the  same  air  as  before  of  a  man  going  through  a  penance. 

This  was  observed  by  Don  Camilio,  who  sat  on  the  right 
of  the  Princess,  and  led  to  various  little  scenes. 

"  Very  good  company  here,  Mr.  Rossi.  Always  sure  of 
seeing  some  beautiful  young  women,"  said  Don  Camilio. 

"  And  beautiful  young  men,  apparently,"  said  David  Rossi. 

The  beautiful  young  man  called  Lu-lu  was  there,  and  reach- 
ing over  to  Don  Camilio,  and  speaking  in  a  whisper  between 
the  puff  of  a  cigarette  and  a  sip  of  coffee,  he  said : 

"  Why  doesn't  the  Minister  buy  the  man  up  ?  Easy  enough 
to  buy  the  press  these  days." 

"  He's  doing  better  than  that,"  said  Don  Camilio.  "  He's 
drawing  him  from  opposition  by  the  allurements  of  .  .  ." 

"Office?" 

"  No,  the  lady,"  whispered  Don  Camilio,  but  Roma  heard 
him. 

She  was  ashamed.  The  innuendoes  which  belittled  David 
Rossi  were  belittling  herself  as  well,  and  she  wanted  to  get  up 
and  fly. 

Rossi  himself  seemed  to  be  unconscious  of  anything  hurt- 
ful. Although  silent,  he  was  calm  and  cheerful,  and  his  man- 
ner was  natural  and  polite.  The  wife  of  one  of  the  royal  aides- 
de-camp  sat  next  to  him,  and  talked  constantly  of  the  King. 
The  King  liked  a  ride  every  morning,  and  one  member  of  the 
Court  had  to  be  ready  to  go  out  with  him  at  ten  o'clock.  That 
was  her  husband's  work,  and  he  was  on  duty  two  weeks  in  every 
two  months. 

Roma  found  herself  listening  to  ^every  word  that  was  said 
to  David  Rossi,  but  she  also  heard  a  conversation  that  was 
going  on  at  the  other  end  of  the  table. 

"Wants  to  be  another  Cola  di  Rienzi,  doesn't  he?"  said 
Lu-lu. 


ROMA  129 

"  Another  Christ,"  said  Don  Camillo.  "  He'll  be  asking  for 
a  crown  of  thorns  by  and  by,  and  calling  on  the  world  to 
immolate  him  for  the  sake  of  humanity.  Look !  He's  talking 
to  the  little  Baroness,  but  he  is  fifteen  thousand  miles  above 
the  clouds  at  this  moment." 

"Where  does  he  come  from,  I  wonder?"  said  Lu-lu,  and 
then  the  two  hands  of  Don  Camillo  played  the  invisible  ac- 
cordion. 

"  Madame  de  Trop  says  his  father  was  Master  of  the  House 
to  Prince  Petrolium — vice-prince,  you  know,  and  brought  up 
in  the  little  palace,"  said  the  Princess. 

"  Don't  believe  a  word  of  it,"  said  Don  Camillo,  "  and  I'll 
wager  he  never  supped  at  a  decent  hotel  before." 

"  I'll  ask  him !  Listen  now !  Some  fun,"  said  the  Princess. 
"  Honourable  Rossi !  " 

"  Yes,  Princess,"  said  David  Rossi. 

The  eyes  of  the  little  Princess  swept  the  table  with  a 
sparkling  light. 

"  Beautiful  room,  isn't  it  ?  " 

"  Beautiful." 

"  Never  been  here  before,  I  suppose  ?  " 

David  Rossi  looked  steadfastly  into  her  eyes  and  answered, 
"  Oh,  yes,  Princess.  When  I  first  returned  to  Italy  eight  years 
ago  I  was  a  waiter  in  this  house  for  a  month." 

The  sparkling  face  of  the  little  Princess  broke  up  like  a 
snowball  in  the  sun,  and  the  two  other  men  dropped  their  heads. 

Roma  hardly  knew  what  her  own  feelings  were.  Humilia- 
tion, shame,  confusion,  but  above  all,  pride — pride  in  David 
Rossi's  courage  and  strength. 

The  white  mist  from  the  Campagna  pierced  to  the  bone  as 
they  came  out  by  the  glass-covered  hall,  and  an  old  woman  with 
an  earthenware  scaldino,  crouching  by  the  marble  pillars  in  the 
street,  held  out  a  chill,  damp  hand  and  cried : 

"  A  penny  for  God's  sake !  May  I  die  unconfessed  if  I've 
eaten  anything  since  yesterday.  .  .  .  God  bless  you,  my 
daughter !  and  the  Holy  Virgin  and  all  the  Saints !  " 

The  streets  were  silent,  and  the  noise  of  the  carriage  wheels 
echoed  between  the  high  walls.  It  was  late,  and  the  electric 
lights  of  the  Via  ISTazionale  were  hopping  out  one  by  one, 
leaving  a  tunnel  of  darkness,  broken  by  gas-lamps  which 
burned  yellow  in  the  marshy  gloom,  like  a  topaz  in  a  brooch 
of  jet. 

At  the  door  of  her  house  Roma  parted  from  the  Princess, 


130  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

and  said  to  Rossi,  as  the  carriage  drove  away,  "  Come  early 
to-morrow.    I've  not  yet  been  able  to  work  properly  somehow." 

She  was  restless  and  feverish,  and  she  would  have  gone  to 
bed  immediately,  but  crossing  the  drawing-room  she  heard  the 
fretful  voice  of  her  aunt  saying,  "  Is  that  you,  Roma  ?  "  and  she 
had  no  choice  but  to  go  into  the  Countess's  bedroom. 

A  red  lamp  burned  before  the  shrine,  and  the  old  lady  was 
in  an  embroidered  nightdress,  but  she  was  wide  awake,  and  her 
eyes  flashed  and  her  lips  trembled. 

"  Ah,  it's  you  at  last !  Sit  down !  I  want  to  speak  to  you. 
Natalina !  "  cried  the  Countess.  "  Oh,  dear  me,  the  girl  has 
gone  to  bed.  Give  me  the  cognac.  There  it  is — on  the  dress- 
ing-table." 

She  sipped  the  brandy,  fidgeted  with  her  cambric  hand- 
kerchief, and  said : 

"  Roma,  I'm  surprised  at  you !  You  hadn't  used  to  be  so 
stupid!  How?  Don't  you  see  what  that  woman  is  doing? 
What  woman  ?  '  The  Princess,  of  course.  Inviting  you  to  share 
her  box  at  the  opera  so  that  you  may  be  seen  in  public  with 
that  man.  She  hates  him  like  poison,  but  she  would  swallow 
anything  to  throw  you  and  this  Rossi  together.  Do  you  expect 
the  Baron  to  approve  of  that?  His  enemy,  and  you  on  such 
terms  with  the  man?  Here,  take  back  this  cognac.  I  feel  as 
if  I  would  choke. — Natalina  .  .  ." 

"  You're  quite  mistaken,  Aunt  Betsy,"  said  Roma.  "  The 
Baron  was  at  the  opera  and  came  into  the  box  himself,  and  he 
approved  of  everything." 

"  Tut !  Don't  tell  me !  Because  he  has  some  respect  for 
himself  and  keeps  his  own  counsel  you  are  simple  enough  to 
think  he  will  not  be  offended.  But  I  know  him.  I've  known 
him  all  my  life.  Even  when  he  was  a  boy  nobody  could  ever 
make  him  cry.  He  was  too  proud  to  admit  that  any  one  could 
hurt  him.  It's  just  the  same  now,  and  whatever  you  do  to 
humble  him  he  will  never  allow  himself  to  see  it.  But  I  see  it, 
and  I  say  it  is  ungrateful  and  indecent." 

The  old  lady's  voice  was  dying  down  to  a  choking  whisper, 
but  she  went  on  without  a  pause. 

"  If  you've  no  thought  for  yourself,  you  might  have  some 
for  me.  You  are  young,  and  anything  may  come  to  you,  but 
I'm  old  and  I'm  tied  down  to  this  mattress,  and  what  is  to  hap- 
pen if  the  Baron  takes  offence  ?  The  income  he  allows  us  from 
your  father's  estates  is  under  his  own  control  still.  He  can  cut 
it  off  at  any  moment,  and  if  he  does,  what  is  to  become  of  me  ?  " 


ROMA  131 

Roma's  bosom  was  swelling  under  her  heavy  breathing,  her 
heart  was  beating  violently  and  her  head  was  dizzy.  All  the 
bitterness  of  the  evening  was  boiling  in  her  throat,  and  it  burst 
out  at  length  in  a  flood. 

"  So  that  is  all  your  moral  protestations  come  to,  is  it  ?  "  she 
said.  "  Because  the  Baron  is  necessary  to  you  and  you  cannot 
exist  without  him,  you  expect  me  to  buy  and  sell  myself  accord- 
ing to  your  necessities." 

"  Roma !   What  are  you  saying  ?   Aren't  you  ashamed  .  .  ." 

"  Aren't  you  ashamed  ?  You've  been  trying  to  throw  me 
into  the  arms  of  the  Baron,  and  you  haven't  cared  what  would 
happen  so  long  as  I  kept  up  ajjpearances." 

"  You  ungrateful  girl !  " 

"  You've  done  your  best  to  break  down  every  feeling  of  right 
and  wrong,  and  to  make  me  think  position  and  power  and 
wealth  and  rank  are  everything,  no  matter  what  price  you  pay 
for  them,  and  if  anybody  threatens  them  we  are  to  fight  for 
them  as  dogs  fight  for  a  bone." 

"  Oh,  dear !  I  see  what  it  is.  You  want  to  be  the  death  of 
me !  You  will,  too,  before  you've  done. — Natalina !  Where 
is  .  .  ." 

"  More  than  that,  you've  poisoned  my  mind  against  my 
father,  and  because  I  couldn't  remember  him,  you've  brought 
me  up  to  think  of  him  as  selfish  and  vain  and  indifl^erent  to  his 
own  daughter.    But  my  father  wasn't  that  kind  of  man  at  all." 

"  Who  told  you  that,  miss  ?  " 

"  Never  mind  who  told  me.  My  father  was  a  saint  and 
a  martyr,  and  a  great  man,  and  he  loved  me  with  all  his  heart 
and  soul." 

"  Oh,  my  head  !  My  poor  head  !  .  .  .  A  martyr  indeed  !  A 
socialist,  a  republican,  a  rebel,  an  anarchist,  you  mean!" 

"  Xever  mind  what  his  politics  were.  He  was  my  father — 
that  is  enough — and  you  had  no  right  to  make  me  think  ill  of 
him,  whatever  the  world  might  do." 

Roma  was  superb  at  that  moment,  with  her  head  thrown 
back,  her  eyes  flaming,  and  her  magnificent  figure  swelling  and 
heaving  under  her  clinging  gown. 

"  You'll  kill  me,  I  tell  you.  The  cognac  .  .  .  ISTatalina 
.  .  .  ."  cried  the  Countess,  bvit  Roma  was  gone. 

Before  going  to  bed  Roma  wrote  to  the  Baron^ — 

"  Certain  you  are  wrong.  Why  waste  time  sending  Charles 
Minghelli  to  London?    Why?    Why?    Why?     The  forger  will 


132  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

find  out  nothing,  and  if  he  does,  it  will  only  be  by  exercise  of 
his  Israelitish  art  of  making  bricks  without  straw.  Stop  him 
at  once  if  you  wish  to  save  public  money  and  spare  yourself 
personal  disappointment.     Stop  him!     Stop  him!     Stop  him! 

"  P.S. — To  show  you  how  far  astray  your  man  has  gone, 
D.  E.  mentioned  to-night  that  he  was  once  a  waiter  at  the 
Grand  Hotel !  " 

VI 

Next  morning  David  Rossi  arrived  early. 

"  iSTow  we  must  get  to  work  in  earnest,"  said  Roma.  "  I 
think  I  see  my  way  at  last." 

It  was  not  John  the  beloved  disciple,  John  who  lay  in  the 
bosom  of  his  Lord.  It  was  Peter,  the  devoted,  stalwart,  brave 
individual,  human,  erring  but  glorious  Peter.  "  Thou  art 
Peter,  and  on  this  rock  I  build  my  church." 

"  Same  position  as  before.  Eyes  the  other  way.  Thank 
you!  .  .  .  Afraid  you  didn't  enjoy  yourself  last  night — no?" 

"  At  the  theatre  ?  I  was  interested.  But  the  human  spec- 
tacle was  perhaps  more  to  me  than  the  artistic  one." 

"  You  were  thinking  of  the  audience  ?  " 

"  Yes.  If  Italy  is  not  content  to  be  a  simple  museum  of 
curiosities,  a  school  of  singers  and  dancers,  the  cavaliere 
servente  of  Europe,  hanging  on  to  the  skirts  of  the  other  na- 
tions, she  must  awake  from  some  of  her  illusions.  Neither 
great  armies  nor  great  art  will  end  the  confusion  and  disorder 
of  a  country  in  which  the  governing  classes  make  merry  while 
the  poor  groan  for  bread.  She  must  first  reform  her  moral 
essence — she  will,  too,  as  sure  as  man  is  on  earth  and  God  is 
in  heaven.  But  I  am  no  artist,  you  see.  .  .  .  How  did  you  be- 
come a  sculptor  ?  " 

"  Oh,  I  studied  a  little  in  the  studios  of  Paris,  where  I  went 
to  school,  you  see." 

"  But  you  were  born  in  London  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  Why  did  you  come  to  Rome  ?  " 

"  Rome  was  the  home  of  my  people,  you  know.  And  then 
there  was  my  name — Roma !  " 

"  T  knew  a  Roma  long  ago." 

"  Really  ?    Another  Roma  ?  " 

There  was  a  tremor  in  her  voice. 


ROMA  133 

"  It  was  the  little  daughter  of  the  friend  I've  spoken  about." 

"  How  interest  .  .  .  No,  at  the  window,  please — that  will 
do." 

Koma  was  choking  with  a  sense  of  duplicity,  but  save  for  a 
turn  of  the  head  David  Rossi  gave  no  sign. 

"  She  was  only  seven  when  I  saw  her  last." 

"  That  was  long  ago,  you  say  ?  " 

"  Seventeen  years  ago." 

"  Then  she  will  be  the  same  age  as  .  .  ." 

"  The  first  time  I  saw  her  she  was  only  three,  and  she  was 
in  her  nightdress  ready  for  bed." 

Roma  laughed  a  little,  but  she  knew  that  every  note  in  her 
voice  was  confused  and  false. 

"  She  said  her  prayers  with  a  little  lisp  at  that  time.  '  Our 
Fader  oo  art  in  heben,  alud  be  dy  name. '  " 

He  laughed  a  little  now,  as  he  mimicked  the  baby  voice. 
They  laughed  together,  then  they  looked  at  each  other,  and  then 
with  serious  eyes  they  turned  away. 

"  You'll  think  it  strange,  but  I  date  my  first  conscious  and 
definite  aspiration  to  the  memory  of  that  hour." 

"Really?" 

"  Ten  years  afterward,  when  I  was  in  America,  looking  for 
the  message  which  was  to  redeem  the  world,  the  words  of  that 
prayer  came  back  to  me  in  Roma's  little  lisp.  '  Dy  kingum 
turn.    Dy  will  be  done  on  card  as  it  is  in  heben.'  " 

"  So  she  .  .  ." 

"  She  is  responsible  for  everything,  and  whatever  I  do  and 
whatever  the  world  does  with  me,  she  is  the  author  of  my  work, 
the  loadstar  of  my  life." 

He  mimicked  the  baby  voice  and  laughed  again,  but  she 
could  not  join  him  now.  This  was  the  man  she  had  set  out 
to  betray !  She  felt  as  if  she  had  walked  blindfold  to  the  edge 
of  a  precipice,  and  then  some  one  had  torn  the  bandage  from 
her  eyes  and  shown  the  abyss  beneath  her  feet. 

For  some  time  after  that  she  worked  on  without  speaking, 
feeling  feverish  and  restless.  But  just  as  the  silence  was  be- 
coming painful,  and  she  could  bear  it  no  longer,  Felice  came 
to  announce  lunch. 

"  You'll  stay  ?  I  want  so  much  to  work  on  while  I'm  in  the 
mood,"  she  said. 

"  With  pleasure,"  he  replied. 

She  ate  hardly  at  all,  for  she  was  troubled  by  many  mis- 
givings, and  through  the  wall  of  the  drawing-room  the  voice  of 


134  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

her  aunt  was  hacking  the  air  constantly  as  she  called  and 
scolded  the  maid. 

Did  he  know  her?  lie  did;  he  must;  every  word,  every 
tone  seemed  to  tell  her  that.  Then  why  did  he  not  speak  out 
plainly  ?  Because  having  revealed  himself  to  her,  he  was  wait- 
ing for  her  to  reveal  herself  to  him.  And  why  had  she  not 
done  so  ?  Because  she  was  enmeshed  in  the  nets  of  the  society 
she  lived  in ;  because  she  was  ashamed  of  the  errand  that  had 
brought  them  together;  and  most  of  all  because  she  had  not 
dared  to  lay  bare  that  secrcjt  of  his  life  which,  like  an  escaped 
convict,  dragged  behind  it  the  broken  chain  of  the  prison-house. 

David  Leone  is  dead!  To  uncover,  even  to  their  own  eyes 
only,  the  fact  that  lay  hidden  behind  those  words  was  like  per- 
sonating the  priest  and  listening  at  the  grating  of  the  con- 
fessional ! 

No  matter !  She  must  do  it !  She  must  reveal  herself  as 
her  heart  and  instinct  might  direct.  She  must  claim  the 
parentage  of  the  noblest  soul  that  ever  died  for  liberty,  and 
David  Rossi  must  trust  his  secret  to  the  bond  of  blood  which 
would  make  it  impossible  for  her  to  betray  the  foster-son  of 
her  own  father. 

Having  come  to  this  conclusion,  the  light  seemed  to  break 
in  her  heavy  sky,  but  the  clouds  were  charged  with  electricity. 
As  they  returned  to  the  studio  she  was  excited  and  a  little 
hysterical,  for  she  thought  the  time  was  near.  At  that  moment 
a  regiment  of  soldiers  passed  along  under  the  ilex  trees  to  the 
Pincio,  with  their  band  of  music  playing  as  they  marched. 

"  Ah,  the  dear  old  days !  "  said  David  Rossi.  "  Everything 
reminds  me  of  them !    I  remember  that  when  she  was  six  .  .  ." 

"  Roma  ? " 

"  Yes — a  regiment  of  troops  returned  from  a  glorious  cam- 
paign, and  the  Doctor  took  us  to  see  the  illuminations  and 
rejoicings.  We  came  to  a  great  piazza,  almost  as  large  as  the 
piazza  of  St.  Peter's,  with  fountains  and  a  tall  column  in  the 
middle  of  it." 

"  I  knoAv— Trafalgar  Square !  " 

"  Dense  crowds  covered  the  square,  but  Ave  found  a  place  on 
the  steps  of  a  church." 

"  I  remember — St.  Martin's  Church.  You  see,  I  know 
London." 

"  The  soldiers  came  in  by  the  big  railway  station  close 
by  ..." 

"  Charing  Cross,  isn't  it?  " 


ROMA  135 

"  And  they  marched  to  the  tune  of  the  '  British  Grenadiers,' 
and  the  thunder  of  iifty  thousand  throats.  And  as  their  general 
rode  past,  a  beacon  of  electric  lights  in  the  centre  of  the  square 
blazed  out  like  an  aureole  about  the  statue  of  a  great  English- 
man who  had  died  long  ago  for  the  cause  which  had  then  con- 
quered." 

"  Gordon !  "  she  cried — she  was  losing  herself  every  mo- 
ment. 

" '  Look,  darling ! '  said  the  Doctor  to  little  Roma.  And 
Roma  said,  '  Papa,  is  it  God  ? '  I  was  a  tall  boy  then,  and  stood 
beside  him.    '  She'll  never  forget  that,  David,'  he  said." 

"  And  she  didn't  .  .  .  she  couldn't  ...  I  mean  .  .  .  Have 
you  ever  told  me  what  became  of  her  ?  " 

She  would  reveal  herself  in  a  moment — only  a  moment — 
after  all,  it  was  delicious  to  play  with  this  sweet  duplicity. 

"  Have  you  ?  "  she  said  in  a  tremulous  voice. 

His  head  was  down.  "  Dead !  "  he  answered,  and  the  tool 
dropped  out  of  her  hand  on  to  the  floor. 

"  I  was  five  years  in  America  after  the  police  expelled  me 
from  London,  and  when  I  returned  to  England  I  went  back  to 
the  little  shop  in  Soho." 

She  was  staring  at  him  and  holding  her  breath.  He  was 
looking  out  of  the  window. 

"  The  same  people  were  there,  and  their  own  daughter  was  a 
grown-up  girl,  but  Roma  was  gone." 

She  could  hear  the  breath  in  her  nostrils. 

"  They  told  me  she  had  been  missing  for  a  week,  and 
then  .  .  .  her  body  had  been  found  in  the  river." 

She  felt  like  one  struck  dumb. 

"  The  man  took  me  to  the  grave.  It  was  the  grave  of  her 
mother  in  Kensal  Green,  and  under  her  mother's  name  I  read 
her  own  inscription — '  Sacred  also  to  the  memory  of  Roma 
Roselli,  found  drowned  in  the  Thames,  aged  twelve  years.' " 

The  warm  blood  which  had  tingled  through  her  veins  was 
suddenly  frozen  with  horror. 

"  Not  to-day,"  she  thought,  and  at  that  moment  a  faint 
sound  of  the  band  on  the  Pincio  came  floating  in  by  the  open 
window. 

"  I  must  go,"  said  David  Rossi,  rising. 

Then  she  recovered  herself  and  began  to  talk  on  other  sub- 
jects. When  would  he  come  again?  He  could  not  say.  The 
parliamentary  session  opened  soon.  He  would  be  very  busy. 
But  he  would  let  her  know,  and  perhaps  .  .  . 


136  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

She  was  holding  out  her  hand  and  looking  at  him  with  a 
nervous  smile.  Their  hands  clasped.  She  was  conscious  of  an 
answering  pressure.  The  bells  of  St.  Peter's  rang  the  Ave 
Maria,  but  they  made  less  clamour  in  the  crimsoning  air 
than  the  clamour  in  their  hearts  at  that  moment. 

When  David  llossi  was  gone  Roma  went  upstairs,  and 
Natalina  met  her  carrying  two  letters.  One  of  them  was 
going  to  the  post — it  was  from  the  Countess  to  the  Baron.  The 
other  was  from  the  Baron  to  herself. 

Down  the  long  terrace  under  the  convent  wall  carriages 
were  returning  from  the  Pincio  through  a  mass  of  people  on 
foot — ladies,  gentlemen,  children,  and  wet-nurses  in  bright 
garments,  with  great  silver  pins  in  their  coal-black  hair.  Roma 
in  the  boudoir  read  her  letter: — 

"  My  dearest  Roma, — A  thousand  thanks  for  the  valuable 
clue  about  the  Grand  Hotel.  Already  we  have  followed  up 
your  lead,  and  we  find  that  the  only  David  Rossi  who  was  ever 
a  waiter  there  gave  as  reference  the  name  of  an  Italian  baker 
in  Soho.  Minghelli  has  gone  to  London,  and  I  am  sending  him 
this  further  information.  Already  he  is  fishing  in  strange 
waters,  and  I  am  sure  you  are  dying  to  know  if  he  has  caught 
anything.  So  am  I,  but  we  must  possess  our  souls  in  patience. 
Your  enemy  is  lying  low  these  days,  so  your  wand  must  be  over 
him  already.  It  is  the  way  with  these  impetuous  gentry,  these 
makers  of  revolution — always  ready  to  take  a  sleeping  draught 
at  the  hands  of  a  lovely  woman.  King  David  ?  Yes,  David  and 
Solomon,  father  and  son,  rolled  into  one  ?  Who  was  his  father, 
I  wonder?    We  shall  soon  know. 

"  But,  my  dearest  Roma,  what  is  happening  to  your  hand- 
writing? It  is  so  shaky  nowadays  that  I  can  scarcely  decipher 
some  of  it.     With  love.  B." 

VII 

"  Dear  Guardian, — But  I'm  not — I'm  not !  I'm  not  in  the 
least  anxious  to  hear  of  what  Mr.  Minghelli  is  doing  in  Lon- 
don, because  I  know  he  is  doing  nothing,  and  whatever  he  says, 
either  through  his  own  mouth  or  the  mouth  of  his  Italian 
baker  in  Soho,  I  shall  never  believe  a  word  he  utters.  As  to  Mr. 
Rossi,  I  am  now  perfectly  sure  that  he  does  not  identify  me  at 
all.  He  believes  my  father's  daughter  is  dead,  and  he  has  just 
been  telling  me  a  shocking  story  of  how  the  body  of  a  young 


ROMA  137 

girl  was  picked  out  of  the  Thames  (about  the  time  you  took  me 
away  from  London)  and  buried  in  the  name  of  Roma  Roselli. 
He  actually  saw  the  grave  and  the  tombstone !  Some  scoundrel 
has  been  at  work  somewhere.    Who  is  it,  I  wonder  ? — Yours, 

"  R.  V." 

Having  written  this  letter  in  the  heat  and  haste  of  the  first 
moment  after  David  Rossi's  departure,  she  gave  it  to  Bruno 
to  post  immediately. 

"  Just  so !  "  said  Bruno  to  himself,  as  he  glanced  at  the 
superscription. 

i!^ext  morning  she  dressed  carefully,  as  if  expecting  David 
Rossi  as  usual,  but  when  he  did  not  come  she  told  herself  she 
was  glad  of  it.  Things  had  happened  too  hurriedly ;  she  wanted 
time  to  breathe  and  to  think. 

All  day  long  she  worked  on  the  bust.  It  was  a  new  de- 
light to  model  by  memory,  to  remember  an  expression  and 
then  try  to  reproduce  it.  The  greatest  difficulty  lay  in  the 
limitation  of  her  beautiful  art.  There  were  so  many  memories, 
so  many  expressions,  and  the  clay  would  take  but  one  of 
them. 

The  next  day  after  that  she  dressed  herself  as  carefully 
as  before,  but  still  David  Rossi  did  not  come.  Xo  matter !  It 
would  give  her  time  to  think  of  all  he  had  said,  to  go  over 
his  words  and  stories.  There  were  the  stories  of  her  father,  of 
her  mother,  of  his  own  boyhood,  and  (most  intimate  of  all)  the 
stories  of  herself.  How  dangerously  near  to  the  brink  of  revela- 
tion they  had  come  sometimes !  How  suddenly  he  had  turned 
to  her  as  he  said  this,  and  when  he  said  that  how  he  looked  at 
her  and  smiled! 

Did  he  know  her  ?  Certainly  he  knew  her !  He  must  have 
known  from  the  first  that  she  was  her  father's  daughter,  or 
he  would  never  have  put  himself  in  her  power.  His  belief  in 
her  was  such  a  sweet  thing.    It  was  delicious. 

Yet  no !  After  all,  he  did  not  know  her.  He  thought  Roma 
Roselli  was  dead.  Why,  then,  did  he  trust  her  with  his  life's 
secret ?  She  knew  why — she  thought  she  knew !  It  was  be- 
cause— from  the  moment  they  met — at  the  first  look  into  her 
eyes  .  .  . 

But  she  dare  not  think  of  that.  It  was  a  sweeter  thing  still. 
It  was  still  more  delicious. 

]^ext  day  also  David  Rossi  did  not  come,  and  she  began 
to  torture  herself  with  misgivings.  Was  he  indifferent?  Had 
10 


138  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

all  her  day-dreams  been  delusions?  Little  as  she  wished  to 
speak  to  Bruno,  she  was  compelled  to  do  so. 

Bruno  hardly  lifted  his  eyes  from  his  chisel  and  soft  iron 
hammer.  "  Parliament  is  to  meet  soon,"  he  said,  "  and  when 
a  man  is  leader  of  a  party  he  has  enough  to  do,  you  know." 

"  Ask  him  to  come  to-morrow.  Say  I  wish  for  one  more  sit- 
ting— only  one." 

"  I'll  tell  him,"  said  Bruno,  with  a  bob  of  his  head  over  the 
block  of  marble. 

But  David  Rossi  did  not  come  the  next  day  either,  and 
Bruno  had  no  better  explanation. 

"  Busy  with  his  new  '  Republic  '  now,  and  no  time  to  waste, 
I  can  tell  you." 

Bruno's  brusqueness  did  not  hurt  her,  for  she  had  begun 
to  justify  David  Rossi's  absence  to  her  own  mind.  Why  should 
he  come?  He  had  his  work  to  do,  and  it  was  a  great  work 
for  humanity,  while  she  was  only  a  trifler,  an  idler,  a  dilet- 
tante. 

"  His  thoughts  are  far  away  from  me,"  she  told  herself. 

The  creeping  misery  of  this  idea  deepened  to  distress  when 
three  days  more  had  passed  and  still  David  Rossi  did  not  ap- 
pear. It  was  now  clear  that  he  was  avoiding  her.  The  atmos- 
phere in  which  she  lived  was  hateful  to  him,  and  he  could  not 
bear  it. 

"  He  will  never  come  again,"  she  thought,  and  then  every- 
thing around  and  within  her  grew  dark  and  chill. 

She  was  sleeping  badly,  and  to  tire  herself  at  night  she  went 
out  to  walk  in  the  moonlight  along  the  path  under  the  convent 
wall.  She  walked  as  far  as  the  Pincio  gates,  where  the  path 
broadens  to  a  circular  space  under  a  table  of  clipped  ilexes, 
beneath  which  there  is  a  fountain  and  a  path  going  down  to  the 
Piazza  di  Spagna.  The  night  was  soft  and  very  quiet,  and 
standing  under  the  deep  shadows  of  the  trees,  with  only  the 
cruel  stars  shining  through,  and  no  sound  in  the  air  save  the 
sobbing  of  the  fountain,  she  heard  a  man's  footstep  on  the 
gravel  coming  up  from  below. 

It  was  David  Rossi.  He  passed  within  a  few  yards,  yet  he 
did  not  see  her.  She  wanted  to  call  to  him,  but  she  could  not 
do  so.  For  a  moment  he  stood  by  the  deep  wall  that  overlooks 
the  city,  and  then  turned  down  the  path  which  she  had  come 
by.  A  trembling  thought  that  was  afraid  to  take  shape  held 
her  back  and  kept  her  silent,  but  the  stars  beat  kindly  in  an 
instant  and  the  blood  in  her  veins  ran  warm.     She  watched 


ROMA  139 

him  from  where  she  stood,  and  then  with  a  light  foot  she  fol- 
lowed him  at  a  distance. 

It  was  true !  Pie  stopped  at  the  parapet  before  the  church, 
and  looked  up  at  her  windows.  There  was  a  light  in  one  of 
them,  and  his  eyes  seemed  to  be  steadfastly  fixed  on  it.  Then 
he  turned  to  go  down  the  steps.  He  went  down  slowly,  some- 
times stopping  and  looking  up,  then  going  on  again.  Once 
more  she  tried  to  call  to  him.  "  Mr.  Rossi."  But  her  voice 
seemed  to  die  in  her  throat.  After  a  moment  he  was  gone,  the 
houses  had  hidden  him,  and  the  church  clock  was  striking 
twelve. 

When  she  returned  to  her  bedroom  and  looked  at  herself  in 
the  glass,  her  face  was  flushed  and  her  eyes  were  sparkling. 
She  did  not  want  to  sleep  at  all  that  night,  for  the  beating  of 
her  heart  was  like  music,  and  the  moon  and  the  stars  were 
singing  a  song. 

"  If  I  could  only  be  quite,  quite  sure ! "  she  thought,  and 
next  morning  she  tackled  Bruno. 

Bruno  was  no  match  for  her  now,  but  he  put  down  his 
shaggj^  head  like  a  bull  that  is  facing  a  stone  fence. 

"  Tell  you  the  honest  truth,  Donna  Eoma,"  he  said, 
"  Mr.  Rossi  is  one  of  those  who  think  that  when  a  man  has 
taken  up  a  work  for  the  world  it  is  best  if  he  has  no  ties  of 
family." 

"Really?  Is  that  so?"  she  answered.  "But  I  don't  un- 
derstand.   He  can't  help  having  father  and  mother,  can  he  ? " 

"  He  can  help  having  a  wife,  though,"  said  Bruno,  "  and 
Mr.  Rossi  thinks  a  public  man  should  be  like  a  priest,  giving 
up  home  and  love  and  so  forth,  that  others  may  have  them 
more  abtmdantly." 

"  So  for  that  reason  .  .  ." 

"  For  that  reason  he  doesn't  throw  himself  in  the  way  of 
temptation." 

"  And  you  think  that's  why  .  .  ." 

"  I  think  that's  why  he  keeps  out  of  the  way  of  women." 

"  Perhaps  he  doesn't  care  for  them — some  men  don't,  you 
know." 

"  Care  for  them !  Mr.  Rossi  is  one  of  the  men  who  think 
pearls  and  diamonds  of  women,  and  if  he  had  to  be  cast  on  a 
desert  island  with  anybody,  he  would  rather  have  one  woman 
than  a  hundred  thousand  men." 

The  dear  old  stupid!  He  had  fallen  into  her  trap  already, 
and  was  telling  her  everything  she  wanted  to  know.     But  the 


140  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

spirit  of  falsehood  was  gleaming  in  her  eyes,  and  she  said 
demurely : 

"  Ah,  yes,  but  perhaps  there's  no  '  one  woman  '  in  the  world 
for  him  yet,  Bruno." 

"  Perhaps  there  is,  perhaps  there  isn't,"  said  Bruno,  and 
his  hammer  fell  on  the  chisel  and  the  white  sparks  began 
to  fly.  _ 

"  You  would  soon  see  if  there  were,  wouldn't  you,  Bruno  ? " 

"  Pcrhai)s  I  would,  perhaps  I  wouldn't,"  said  Bruno,  and 
then  he  wagged  his  wise  head  and  growled,  "  In  the  battle  of 
love  he  wins  Avho  flies." 

"  Does  he  say  that,  Bruno?  " 

"  He  does.  One  day  our  old  woman  was  trying  to  lead  him 
on  a  bit.  '  A  heart  to  share  your  joys  and  sorrows  is  something 
in  this  world,'  says  she." 

"  And  what  did  Mr.  Rossi  say  ?  " 

" '  A  woman's  love  is  the  sweetest  thing  in  the  world,'  ho 
said;  'but  if  I  found  myself  caring  too  much  for  anybody  I 
should  run  away.' " 

"Uid  Mr.  liossi  really  say  that,  Bruno?" 

"  He  did — upon  my  life  he  did !  " 

"  So  you  think  that  now  .  .  ." 

"  I  think  that  now  if  I  were  a  woman  I  should  give  up 
thinking  of  him,  and  leave  him  to  himself." 

"  It's  good  of  you  to  speak  so  frankly,  Bruno." 

"  Well,  it  wasn't  a  nice  thing  to  do,  bvit  I  made  up  my 
mind  to  do  it  and  it's  done." 

He  had  the  air  of  a  man  who  had  achieved  a  moral  victory, 
and  Roma,  whose  eyes  were  dancing  with  delight,  wanted  to 
fall  on  his  stupid,  sulky  face  and  kiss  and  kiss  it. 

Late  that  night  she  sat  in  her  boudoir  writing  a  letter.  The 
lamp  was  on  her  left,  and  it  cast  the  shadow  of  her  head  on  to 
the  curtain  of  a  window  on  her  right.  Sometimes  she  glanced 
at  the  shadow  and  laughed  to  think  how  unmistakable  it  must 
be  to  any  one  seeing  it  from  the  outside.  Then  her  cheeks 
burned  at  the  sense  of  her  own  foolishness  and  she  returned  to 
her  letter. 

But  the  letter  was  foolish  too.  When  it  was  finished  it  had 
neither  signature  nor  superscription,  and  was  unfit  for  the 
hand  of  any  human  postman.  "  Come  to  me !  Why  don't  you 
come?  I  have  so  much  to  say  to  you.  I  have  a  confession  to 
make.  It  will  be  such  a  surprise!  You  think  somebody  is 
dead,  but  she  isn't;  she  is  alive,  and  very  close  to  you.    How 


ROMA  141 

am  I  to  tell  you  ?  Should  1  play  or  sing  something  ?  '  British 
Grenadiers,'  for  example?  Will  you  understand  me  by  that,  or 
am  I  to  speak  quite  plainly  ?  I  must  see  you,  and  if  you  will 
not  come  to  me  I  must  go  to  you.  Perhaps  you  don't  want 
to  come  here  any  more.  Let  it  be  somewhere  else  then — some- 
where outside  the  walls,  somewhere  in  the  country,  where  we 
can  be  alone  for  a  while,  you  and  I  together.  Isn't  this  a  per- 
fectly shocking  letter?  But  won't  you  write  me  another  one 
just  as  shocking  ?    Do !  " 

She  waited  until  the  church  clock  struck  twelve,  and  then 
went  to  bed.  There  she  dropped  her  letter  into  the  Dead  Letter 
Office  of  Love — she  put  it  under  her  pillow.  And  hearing  the 
rustle  of  the  paper  as  she  was  falling  asleep,  she  thought,  "  I'll 
wake  in  the  middle  of  the  night  and  hear  it,  and  then  .  .  ." 

It  was  very,  very  sweet,  but  it  was  very,  very  childish.  Her 
cheeks  burned  as  before  and  she  covered  up  her  head. 

During  the  afternoon  of  the  day  following  the  Princess 
Bellini  came  in  with  Don  Camillo.  "  Here's  Gi-gi !  "  she  cried. 
"  He  comes  to  say  there's  to  be  a  meet  of  the  foxhounds  on 
the  Campagna  to-morrow.  If  you'd  like  to  come  I'll  take  you, 
and  if  you  think  Mr.  Eossi  will  come  too  .  .  ." 

"  If  he  rides  and  has  time  to  spare,"  said  Roma. 

"  Precisely,"  said  Don  Camillo.  "  The  worst  of  being  a 
prophet  is  that  it  gives  one  so  much  trouble  to  agree  with  one's 
self,  you  know.  Rumour  says  that  our  illustrious  Deputy  has 
been  a  little  out  of  odour  with  his  own  people  lately,  and  is  now 
calling  a  meeting  to  tell  the  world  what  his  '  Creed  and  Char- 
ter '  doesn't  mean.  Still,  a  flight  into  the  country  might  do  no 
harm  even  to  the  stormy  petrel  of  politics,  and  if  any  one  could 
prevail  with  him  .  .  ." 

"  Leave  that  to  Roma,  and  see  to  everything  else  yourself," 
said  the  Princess.  "  On  the  way  to  that  tiresome  tea-room  in 
the  Corso,  my  dear.  '  Charity  and  Work,'  you  know.  Com- 
mittee for  the  protection  of  poor  girls,  or  something.  But  we 
must  see  the  old  aunt  first,  I  suppose.     Come  in,  Gi-gi !  " 

Three  minutes  afterward  Roma  was  dressed  for  the  street, 
and  her  dog  was  leaping  and  barking  beside  her. 

"  Carriage,  Eccellenza  ? '' 

"  ISTot  to-day,  thank  you !  Down,  Black,  down !  Keep  the 
dog  from  following  me,  Felice." 

As  she  passed  the  lodge  the  porter  handed  her  an  envelope 
bearing  the  seal  of  the  Minister,  but  she  did  not  stop  to  open 
it.     With  a  light  step  she  tripped  along  the  street,  hailed  a 


142  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

coupe,  cried  "  Piazza  !N"avona,"  and  then  composed  herself  to 
read  her  letter. 

When  the  Princess  and  Don  Camillo  came  out  of  the 
Countess's  room  Eoma  was  gone,  and  the  dog  was  scratching 
at  the  inside  of  the  outer  door. 

"  Now  where  can  she  have  gone  to  so  suddenly,  I  wonder  ? 
And  there's  her  jjoor  dog  trying  to  follow  her !  " 

"  Is  that  the  dog  that  goes  to  the  Deputy's  apartment  ? " 

"  Certainly  it  is !  His  name  is  Black.  I'll  hold  him  while 
you  open  the  door,  Felice.  There !  Good  dog !  Good  Black ! 
Oh,  the  brute !    lie  has  broken  away  from  me." 

"Black!    Black!    Black!" 

"  No  use,  Felice.  He'll  be  half  way  through  the  street  by 
this  time." 

And  going  down  the  stairs  the  little  Princess  whispered  to 
her  companion :  "  Now,  if  Black  comes  home  with  his  mistress 
this  evening  it  will  be  easy  to  see  v/here  she  has  been." 

Meantime  Roma,  in  her  coupe,  was  reading  her  letter — 

"  Dearest, — Been  away  from  Rome  for  a  few  days,  and 
hence  the  delay  in  answering  your  charming  message.  Don't 
trouble  a  moment  about  the  dead-and-buried  nightmare.  If 
the  story  is  true,  so  much  the  better.  R.  R.  is  dead,  thank  God, 
and  her  unhappy  wraith  will  haunt  your  path  no  more.  But 
if  Dr.  Rosclli  knew  nothing  about  David  Rossi,  how  comes 
it  that  David  Rossi  knows  so  much  about  Dr.  Roselli  ?  It 
looks  like  another  clue.     Thanks  again.     A  thousand  thanks ! 

"  Still  no  news  from  London,  but  though  I  pretend  neither 
to  knowledge  nor  foreknowledge,  I  am  still  satisfied  that  we  are 
on  the  right  track. 

"  Dinner-party  to-night,  dearest,  and  I  shall  be  obliged  to 
you  if  I  may  borrow  Felice.  Your  Princess  Potiphar,  your 
Don  Saint  Joseph,  your  Count  Signorina,  your  Senator  Tom- 
tit, and — will  you  believe  it  ? — your  Madame  de  Trop !  I  can 
deny  you  nothing,  you  see,  but  I  am  cruelly  out  of  luck  that 
my  dark  house  must  lack  the  light  of  all  drawing-rooms,  the 
sunshine  of  all  Rome! 

"  How  clever  of  you  to  throw  dust  in  the  eyes  of  your  aunt 
herself !  And  these  red-hot  prophets  in  petticoats,  how  startled 
they  will  soon  be !     Adieu  !  Boxelli." 

As  the  coupe  turned  into  the  Piazza  Navona,  Roma  was 
tearing  the  letter  into  shreds  and  casting  them  out  of  the 
window. 


ROMA  143 

VIII 

While  Roma  climbed  the  last  flight  of  stairs  to  David 
Kossi's  apartment,  with  the  slippery-sloppery  footsteps  of  the 
old  Garibaldi  an  going  before,  Bruno's  thunderous  voice  was 
rocking  through  the  rooms  above. 

"  Love  who  loves  you,  and  who  loves  not  leave !  That's  my 
philosophy,  sir.  What  do  you  say,  Joseph-Mazzini-Garibaldi  i 
Look  at  him,  Mr.  Rossi !  Republican,  democrat,  socialist,  and 
rebel!  Upsets  the  government  of  this  house  once  a  day  regu- 
larly— dethrones  the  King  and  defies  the  Queen !  Catch  the 
piggy-wiggy.  Uncle  David !  Here  goes  for  it — one,  two,  three, 
and  away !  " 

Then  shrieks  and  squeals  of  childish  laughter,  mingled  with 
another  man's  gentler  tones,  and  a  woman's  frightened  re- 
monstrance. And  then  sudden  silence  and  the  voice  of  the 
Garibaldian  in  a  panting  whisper,  saying,  "  She's  here  again, 
sir!" 

"  Donna  Roma  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  Come  in,"  cried  David  Rossi,  and  from  the  threshold  to 
the  open  hall  she  saw  him,  in  the  middle  of  the  floor,  with  a 
little  boy  pitching  and  heaving  like  a  young  sea-lion  in  his 
arms. 

He  slipped  the  boy  to  his  feet  and  said,  "  Run  to  the  lady 
and  kiss  her  hand,  Joseph."  But  the  boy  stood  off  shyly,  and, 
stepping  into  the  room,  Roma  knelt  to  the  child  and  put  her 
arms  about  him. 

"  What  a  big  little  man  to  be  sure !  His  name  is  Joseph,  is 
it?  And  what's  his  age?  Six!  Think  of  that!  Have  I 
seen  him  before,  Mrs.  Rocco?  Yes?  Perhaps  he  w^as  here 
the  day  I  called  before?  Was  he?  So?  How  stupid  of  me 
to  forget !  Ah,  of  course,  now  I  remember,  he  was  in  his  night- 
dress and  asleep,  and  Mr.  Rossi  was  cai'rying  him  to  bed." 

The  mother's  heart  was  captured  in  a  moment.  "  Do  j'ou 
love  children.  Donna  Roma?  " 

"  Indeed  I  do  !  " 

"  ISTobody  can  be  a  good  w^oman  if  she  doesn't  love  chil- 
dren," said  Elena. 

"  And  yet  how  strange !  "  said  Roma.  "  I  must  have  had 
no  eyes  for  children  for  years,  and  now  all  at  once  the  world 
seems  to  be  fvill  of  them." 

During  this  passage  between  the  women  Bruno  had  grunted 


144  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

his  way  out  of  the  room,  and  was  now  sidling  down  the  stair- 
ease,  being  suddenly  smitten  by  his  conscience  with  the  mem- 
ory of  a  message  he  had  omitted  to  deliver. 

"  Come,  Joseph,"  said  Elena.  But  Joseph,  who  had  re- 
covered from  his  bashfulness,  was  in  no  hurry  to  be  off,  and 
Roma  said : 

"  Xo,  no !  I've  only  called  for  a  moment.  It  is  to  say," 
turning  to  David  Rossi,  "  that  there's  a  meet  of  the  foxhounds 
on  the  Campagna  to-morrow,  and  tell  you  from  Don  Camillo 
that  if  you  ride  and  would  care  to  go  .  .  ." 

"  You  are  going?  " 

"  With  the  Princess,  yes !  But  there  will  be  no  necessity 
to  follow  the  hounds  all  day  long,  and  perhaps  coming 
home  .  .  ." 

"  I  will  be  there." 

"  IIow  charming !     That's  all  I  came  to  say,  and  so  .  .  ." 

She  made  a  pretence  of  turning  to  go,  but  he  said : 

"  Wait !  Now  that  you  are  here  I  have  something  to  show 
to  you." 

"Tome?" 

"  Come  in,"  he  cried,  and,  blowing  a  kiss  to  the  boy,  Roma 
followed  Rossi  into  the  sitting-room. 

"  One  moment,"  he  said,  and  lie  left  her  to  go  into  the  bed- 
room. 

When  he  came  back  he  had  a  small  parcel  in  his  hands 
wrapped  in  a  lace  handkerchief.  The  handkerchief  fell  out 
of  his  hands  as  he  unwound  it,  and  she  saw  at  a  glance  it 
was  cftie  of  her  own.  Their  eyes  met  in  a  flash  of  under- 
standing, and  for  a  moment  he  looked  nervous  and  con- 
fused. 

"  I'm  afraid  that  is  yours,"  he  faltered.  "  You  must  have 
dropped  it  when  you  were  here  before.  I  suppose  I  ought  to 
return  it  .  .  ." 

"  No !  Oh,  no !  You're  mistaken,"  she  said,  but  her  nerves 
tingled  and  her  blood  danced. 

He  put  the  handkerchief  into  his  breast-pocket  and  held 
out  a  little  picture  which  had  been  wrapped  in  it. 

"  We  have  talked  so  much  of  my  old  friend  Roselli  that  I 
thought  you  might  like  to  see  his  portrait." 

"  His  portrait?    Have  you  really  got  his  portrait?  " 

"  Here  it  is,"  and  he  put  into  her  hands  the  English  photo- 
graph which  used  to  hang  by  his  bed. 

She  took  it  eagerly  and  looked  at  it  steadfastly,  while  her 


ROMA  145 

lips  trembled  and  her  eyes  grew  moist.  There  was  silence  for 
a  moment,  and  then  she  said,  in  a  voice  that  struggled  to 
control  itself,  "So  this  was  the  father  of  little  Roma?  " 

«  Yes." 

"  Is  it  very  like  him  ?  " 

"  Very." 

"  What  a  beautiful  face !  What  a  reverend  head !  Did 
he  look  like  that  on  the  day  .  .  .  the  day  he  was  at  Kensai 
Green?" 

"  Exactly." 

"  And  on  the  night  he  took  the  doll  back  to  Soho  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

The  excitement  she  laboured  under  could  no  longer  be 
controlled,  and  she  lifted  the  picture  to  her  lips  and  kissed 
it.  Then  catching  her  breath,  and  looking  up  at  him  with 
swimming  eyes,  she  laughed  through  her  tears  and  said : 

"  That  is  because  he  was  your  friend,  and  because  .  .  , 
because  he  loved  my  little  namesake." 

David  Rossi  did  not  reply,  and  the  silence  was  too  audible, 
.  so  she  said,  with  another  nervous  laugh: 

"  Not  that  I  think  she  deserved  such  a  father.  He  must 
have  been  the  best  father  a  girl  ever  had,  but  she  .  .  ." 

"  She  was  a  child,"  said  David  Rossi. 

"  Still,  if  she  had  been  worthy  of  a  father  like  that  .  .  ." 

"  She  was  only  seven,  remember." 

"  Even  so,  but  if  she  had  not  been   a  little  seliish  .  .  . 
wasn't  she  a  little  selfish  ?  " 

"  You  mustn't  abuse  my  friend  Roma." 

Her  eyes  beamed,  her  cheeks  burned,  her  nerves  tingled. 
It  would  be  a  sweet  delight  to  egg  him  on,  but  she  dare  not  go 
any  further. 

"  I  beg  your  pardon,"  she  said  in  a  soft  voice.  "  Of  course 
you  know  best.  And  pei'haps  years  afterwards  when  she  came 
to  think  of  what  her  father  had  been  to  her  .  .  .  that  is  to  say 
if  she  lived  .  .  ." 

Their  eyes  met  again,  and  now  hers  fell  in  confusion. 

"  I  want  to  give  you  that  portrait,"  he  said. 

"Me?" 

"  You  would  like  to  have  it  ?  " 

"  More  than  anything  in  the  world.  But  you  value  it  your- 
self?" 

"  Beyond  anything  I  possess." 

"  Then  how  can  I  take  it  from  you  ? " 


146  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  There  is  only  one  person  in  the  world  I  would  give  it  to. 
She  has  it,  and  I  am  contented." 

It  was  impossible  to  bear  the  strain  any  longer  without 
crying  out,  and  to  give  physical  expression  to  her  feelings 
she  lifted  the  portrait  to  her  lips  again  and  kissed  and 
kissed  it. 

He  smiled  at  her,  she  smiled  back;  the  silence  was  hard  to 
break,  but  just  as  they  were  on  the  edge  of  the  precipice  the 
big  shock-head  of  the  little  boy  looked  in  on  them  through  the 
chink  of  the  door  and  cried : 

"  Yovi  needn't  ask  me  to  come  in,  'cause  I  won't !  " 

By  the  blessed  instinct  of  the  motherhood  latent  in  her, 
Roma  understood  the  boy  in  a  moment.  "  If  I  were  a  gentle- 
man I  would,  though,"  she  said. 

"  Would  you  ?  "  said  Joseph,  and  in  he  came,  with  a  face 
shining  all  over. 

"  Hurrah !  A  piano !  "  said  Eoma,  leaping  up  and  seat- 
ing herself  at  the  instrument.  "  What  shall  I  play  for  you, 
Joseph  ? " 

Joseph  was  indifferent  so  long  as  it  was  a  song,  and  with 
head  aside,  Roma  touched  the  keys  and  pretended  to  think. 
After  a  moment  of  sweet  duplicity  she  struck  up  the  air  she  had 
come  expressly  to  play. 

It  was  the  "  British  Grenadiers."  She  sang  a  verse  of  it. 
She  sang  in  English  and  with  the  broken  pronunciation  of  a 
child — 

"  Some  talk  of  Allisander,  and  some  of  Ilcrgoles; 
Of  Hector  and  Eyesander,  and  such  gate  names  as  these  .  .  ." 

The  boy  had  caught  the  lilt  in  a  moment  and  was  marching 
to  the  tune.  David  Rossi  was  standing  with  his  foot  on  the 
fender  and  his  face  to  the  fire.  Roma  was  looking  from  one  to 
the  other  and  watching  both. 

"  But  of  all  the  world's  gate  he-e-roes  ..." 

Suddenly  she  became  aware  that  David  Rossi  was  looking 
at  her  through  the  glass  on  the  mantel-piece,  and  to  keep  her- 
self from  crying  she  began  to  laugh,  and  the  song  came  to  an 
end. 

At  the  same  moment  the  door  burst  open  with  a  bang,  and 
the  dog  came  bounding  into  the  room.  Behind  it  came  Elena, 
who  said — 


ROMA  147 

"  It  was  scratching  at  the  staircase  door,  and  I  thought  it 
must  have  followed  you." 

"  Followed  Mr.  Rossi,  you  mean.  He  has  stolen  my  dog's 
heart  away  from  me,"  said  Roma. 

"  That  is  what  I  say  about  my  boy's,"  said  Elena. 

"  But  Joseph  is  going  for  a  soldier,  I  see." 

"  It's  a  porter  he  wants  to  be." 

"  Then  so  he  shall — he  shall  be  my  porter  some  day,"  said 
Roma,  whereupon  Joseph  was  frantic  with  delight,  and  Elena 
was  saying  to  herself,  "  What  wicked  lies  they  tell  of  her — I 
wonder  they  are  not  ashamed !  " 

The  fire  was  going  down  and  the  twilight  was  deepening. 

"  Shall  I  bring  you  the  lamp,  sir  ?  "  said  Elena. 

"  Not  for  me,"  said  Roma.  "  I  ara  going  immediately." 
But  even  when  mother  and  child  had  gone  she  did  not  go.  Un- 
consciously they  drew  nearer  and  nearer  to  each  other  in  the 
gathering  darkness,  and  as  the  daylight  died  their  voices 
softened  and  there  were  quiet  questions  and  low  replies.  The 
desire  to  speak  out  was  struggling  in  the  woman's  heart  with 
the  delight  of  silence.    But  she  would  reveal  herself  at  last. 

"  I  have  been  thinking  a  great  deal  about  the  story  they 
told  you  in  London — of  Roma's  death  and  burial,  I  mean.  Had 
you  no  reason  to  think  it  might  be  false  ? " 

"  None  whatever." 

"  It  never  occurred  to  you  that  it  might  be  to  anybody's 
advantage  to  say  that  she  was  dead  while  she  was  still  alive  ? " 

"  How  could  it  ?  Who  was  to  perpetrate  a  crime  for  the 
sake  of  the  daughter  of  a  poor  doctor  in  Soho — a  poor  prisoner 
in  Elba  ? " 

"  Then  it  was  not  until  afterwards  that  you  heard  that  the 
poor  Doctor  was  a  great  prince  ?  " 

"  Not  until  the  night  you  were  here  before." 

"  And  you  had  never  heard  anything  of  his  daughter  in  the 
interval ? " 

"  Once  I  had !  It  was  on  the  same  day,  though.  A  man 
came  here  from  London  on  an  infamous  errand  .  .  ." 

"  What  was  his  name  ?  " 

"  Charles  Minghelli." 

"What  did  he  say?" 

"  He  said  Roma  Roselli  was  not  dead  at  all,  but  worse  than 
dead — that  she  had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  an  evil  man,  and 
turned  out  badly." 

"  Did  you  .  .  .  did  you  believe  that  story  ?  " 


148  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Not  one  word  of  it !  I  called  the  man  a  liar,  and  flung 
him  out  of  the  house." 

"  Then  you  .  .  .  you  think  ...  if  she  is  still  living  .  .  ." 

"  My  Koma  is  a  good  woman." 

Her  face  burned  up  to  the  roots  of  her  hair.  She  choked 
with  joy,  she  choked  with  pain.  His  belief  in  her  purity  stifled 
her.  She  could  not  speak  now — she  could  not  reveal  herself. 
There  was  a  moment  of  silence,  and  then  in  a  tremulous  voice 
she  said : 

"  Will  you  not  call  me  Koma,  and  try  to  think  I  am  your 
little  friend  ?  " 

When  she  came  to  herself  after  that  she  was  back  in  her 
own  apartment,  in  her  aunt's  bedroom,  and  kissing  the  old 
lady's  angular  face.  And  the  Countess  was  breaking  up  the 
stupefaction  of  her  enchantment  with  sighs  and  tears  and 
words  of  counsel. 

"  I  only  want  you  to  preserve  yourself  for  your  proper 
destiny,  Koma.  You  are  the  fiancee  of  the  Baron,  as  one 
might  say,  and  the  poor  maniac  can't  last  long.  As  for  what 
you  said  so  cruelly  about  breaking  down  feelings  and  so  forth, 
God  is  merciful,  and  there  are  things  which  can  be  atoned  for 
by  prayer  and  fasting.  But  I  implore  you  not  to  put  yourself 
in  the  power  of  society.  It  never  forgives  anybody  who  forgets 
the  good  old  respectabilities — and  quite  right,  too !  " 

Before  dressing  for  dinner  Koma  replied  to  the  Minister: — 

"  Dkar  Baron  Bonklli, — Didn't  I  tell  you  that  Minghelli 
would  find  out  nothing?  I  am  now  more  than  ever  sure  that 
the  whole  idea  is  an  error.  Take  my  advice  and  drop  it.  Drop 
it !     Drop  it !     I  shall,  at  all  events ! — Yours, 

"  Koma  Volonna. 

"  Success  to  the  dinner !  Am  sending  Felice.  He  will  give 
you  this  letter.— K.  V." 

IX 

It  was  the  sv/eetest  morning  of  the  Koman  winter.  The  sun 
shone  with  a  gentle  radiance,  and  the  motionless  air  was 
fragrant  with  the  odour  of  herbs  and  flowers.  Outside  the  gate 
which  leads  to  the  old  Appian  Way  grooms  were  waiting  with 
horses,  blanketed  and  hooded,  and  huntsmen  in  red  coats,  white 
breeches,  pink  waistcoats,  and  black  boots,  were  walking  their 


ROMA  149 

mounts  to  the  place  appointed  for  the  meet.  In  a  line  of  car- 
riages were  many  ladies,  some  in  riding-habits,  and  on  foot 
there  was  a  string  of  beggars,  most  of  them  deformed,  with 
here  and  there,  at  little  villages,  a  group  of  rosy  children 
watching  the  procession  as  it  passed. 

The  American  and  English  Ambassadors  were  riding  side 
by  side  behind  a  magnificent  carriage  with  coachman  and  tiger 
in  livery  of  scarlet  and  gold. 

"  Who  would  think,  to  look  on  a  scene  like  this,  that  the 
city  is  seething  with  dissatisfaction?  "  said  the  Englishman. 

"  Rome  ?  "  said  the  American.  "  Its  aristocratic  indiffer- 
ence will  not  allow  it  to  believe  that  here,  as  everywhere  else  in 
the  world,  great  and  fatal  changes  are  going  on  all  the  time. 
These  lands,  for  example — to  whom  do  they  belong?  Nomi- 
nally to  the  old  Roman  nobility,  but  really  to  the  merchants 
of  the  Campagna — a  company  of  middlemen  who  grew  rich 
by  leasing  them  from  the  princes  and  subletting  them  to  the 
poor." 

"  And  the  nobles  themselves — how  are  they  faring  ?  " 

"  Badly !  Already  they  are  of  no  political  significance,  and 
the  State  knows  them  not." 

"  They  don't  appear  to  go  into  the  army  or  navy — what  do 
they  go  into  ?  " 

"  Love !  Their  chief  occupation  is  to  marry  their  old  Italian 
titles  to  our  young  English  and  American  fortunes.  We  help 
them  to  it,  too !  Mrs.  Iliram  P.  Power  is  always  around  with 
her  daughter  and  her  dollars.  She's  here  this  morning — you'll 
find  her  all  over  the  place,"  and  the  American  made  a  broad 
sweep  of  his  hand  toward  the  carriages  front  and  back. 

"  She  leaves  the  worthy  president  of  the  Drill  Hole  Com- 
pany slaving  away  in  Wall  Street,  while  she  plays  stewardess 
of  the  commissariat  at  the  Grand  Hotel  to  a  troop  of  Italian 
tom-tits  who  chatter  about  their  hearts,  but  have  no  sincerity, 
no  reverence,  no  enthusiasm,  and  only  one  idea  of  the  resur- 
rection of  Rome — a  reckless  social  life,  reproducing  the  vices  of 
antiquity  with  the  facilities  of  modern  civilisation." 

"And  meantime  the  Italian  people?" 

"  Meantime  the  great  Italian  people,  like  the  great  English 
people,  the  great  German  people,  and  the  people  of  every  coun- 
try where  the  privileged  classes  still  exist,  are  rising  like  a 
mighty  wave  to  sweep  all  this  sea-wrack  high  and  dry  on  to  the 
rocks." 

"  And  this  wave  of  the  people,"  said  the  Englishman,  in- 


150  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

dining  his  head  towards  the  carriage  in  front,  "  is  represented 
by  men  like  friend  Rossi  'i  " 

"  Would  be,  if  he  could  keep  himself  straight,"  said  the 
American.  "  He  has  the  big  idea  to  begin  with.  Liberty 
against  Authority!  Humanity  against  Empire!  That's  the 
way  I'm  figuring  it,  sir,  and  I  call  it  the  most  revolutionary 
idea  that  has  been  put  into  operation  since  those  early  Chris- 
tians used  to  meet  in  these  catacombs.  They  had  the  big  idea, 
too.  Csesar  or  Christ,  which  is  it  to  be?  But  now  Caesar  and 
Christ  seem  to  be  Siamese  twins,  and  to  share  the  throne  to- 
gether." 

"  And  where  is  the  Tarpeian  rock  of  friend  Rossi's  poli- 
tics?" 

The  American  slapped  his  glossy  boot  with  his  whip,  low- 
ered his  voice,  and  said,  "  There !  " 

"Donna  Roma?" 

"  A  fortnight  ago  you  heard  his  speech  on  the  liveries  of 
scarlet  and  gold,  and  look !    He's  under  them  himself  already." 

"  You  think  there  is  no  other  inference  ?  " 

The  American  shook  his  head.  "  Always  the  way  with 
these  leaders  of  revolution.  It's  Samson's  strength  with  Sam.- 
son's  weakness  in  every  mother's  son  of  them." 

"  I  cannot  reconcile  myself  to  your  interpretation.  General, 
and  I'll  stick  to  my  faith  in  Donno  Roma  in  spite  of  all,"  said 
the  Englishman. 

"  Good-morning,  General  Potter !  "  said  a  cheerful  voice 
from  the  carriage  in  front. 

It  was  Roma  herself.  She  sat  by  the  side  of  the  little 
Princess,  with  David  Rossi  on  the  seat  before  them.  Her  eyes 
were  bright,  there  was  a  glow  in  her  cheeks,  and  she  looked 
lovelier  than  ever  in  her  close-fitting  riding-habit. 

The  men  rode  up  to  the  carriage,  and  there  were  saluta- 
tions and  introductions.  Roma  was  in  high  spirits,  and  she 
tossed  back  the  shuttlecock  of  the  American's  playful  talk  with 
jest  and  laughter. 

"  I  had  no  conception  you  were  such  a  boy  until  I  saw  you 
in  a  red  coat.  General." 

"  Ah,  you  lovely  young  coward !  You  can  dare  to  say  that 
to  my  grey  head,  can't  you  ? " 

With  such  light  fence  they  passed  down  the  old  dead  road 
with  its  little  shrines,  its  broken  blocks  of  stone,  and  its  scat- 
tered wrecks  of  the  graves  of  men  and  women. 

At  the  meeting-place  there  was  a  vast  crowd  of  on-lookers. 


ROMA  151 

chiefly  foreigners,  in  cabs  and  carriages  and  four-in-hand 
coaches  from  the  principal  hotels.  The  Master  of  the  Hunt 
was  ready,  with  his  impatient  hounds  at  his  feet,  and  around 
him  was  a  brilliant  scene.  Officers  in  blue,  huntsmen  in  red, 
ladies  in  black,  jockeys  in  jackets,  a  sea  of  feathers  and  flowers 
and  sunshades,  with  the  neighing  of  the  horses  and  yapping  of 
the  dogs,  the  vast  undulating  country,  the  smell  of  earth  and 
herbs,  and  the  morning  sunlight  over  all. 

Don  Camillo  was  waiting  with  horses  for  his  party,  and 
they  mounted  immediately.  The  horse  for  Roma  was  a  quiet 
bay  mare  with  limpid  eyes.  General  Potter  helped  her  to 
the  saddle,  and  she  went  cantering  through  the  long  lush 
grass. 

"  What  has  your  charming  young  charge  been  doing  with 
herself,  Princess,"  said  the  American.  "  She  was  always  beau- 
tiful, but  to-day  she's  lovely." 

"  She's  like  Undine  after  she  had  found  her  soul,"  said  the 
Englishman. 

The  little  Princess  laughed.  "  Love  and  a  cough  cannot 
be  hidden,  gentlemen,"  she  whispered,  with  a  look  toward  David 
Rossi. 

"  You  don't  mean  .  .  ." 

"  Hush !  " 

Meantime  Rossi,  in  ordinary  walking  dress,  was  approach- 
ing the  horse  he  was  intended  to  ride.  It  was  a  high  strong- 
limbed  sorrel  with  wild  eyes  and  panting  nostrils.  The  Eng- 
lish groom  who  held  it  was  regarding  the  rider  with  a  doubtful 
expression,  and  a  group  of  booted  and  spurred  huntsmen  were 
closing  around. 

To  everybody's  surprise,  the  Deputy  gathered  up  the  reins 
and  leaped  lightly  to  the  saddle,  and  at  the  next  moment  he 
was  riding  at  Roma's  side.  Then  the  horn  was  sounded,  the 
pack  broke  into  music,  the  horses  beat  their  hoofs  on  the  turf 
and  the  hunt  began. 

There  was  a  wall  to  jump  first,  and  everybody  cleared  it 
easily  until  it  came  to  David  Rossi's  turn,  when  the  sorrel  re- 
fused to  jump.  He  patted  the  horse's  neck  and  tried  it  again, 
but  it  snorted,  shied,  and  went  off  with  its  head  between  its 
legs.  A  third  time  he  brought  the  sorrel  up  to  the  wall,  and 
a  third  time  it  swerved  aside. 

The  hunters  had  waited  to  watch  the  result,  and  as  the 
horse  came  up  for  a  foiirth  trial,  with  its  wild  eyes  flashing,  its 
nostrils  quivering,  and  its  forelock  tossed  over  one  ear,  it  wa9 


152  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

seen  that  the  bridle  had  broken  and  Rossi  was  riding  with  one 
rein. 

"  He'll  be  lucky  if  he  isn't  hurt,"  said  some  one. 

"  Why  doesn't  he  give  it  the  whip  over  its  quarters  ?  "  said 
another. 

But  David  Rossi  only  patted  his  horse  until  it  came  to  the 
spot  where  it  had  shied  before.  Then  he  reached  over  its  neck 
on  the  side  of  the  broken  rein,  and  with  open  hand  struck  it 
sharply  across  the  nose.  The  horse  reared,  snorted,  and 
jumped,  and  at  the  next  moment  it  was  standing  quietly  on 
the  other  side  of  the  wall. 

Roma,  on  her  bay  mare,  was  ashen  pale,  and  the  American 
Ambassador  turned  to  her  and  said: 

"  Xever  knew  bvit  one  man  to  do  a  thing  like  that.  Donna 
Roma." 

Roma  swallowed  something  in  her  throat  and  said,  "  Who 
was  it.  General  Potter  ?  " 

"  The  present  Pope  when  he  was  a  Noble  Guard." 

"  He  can  ride,  by  Jove !  "  said  Don  Camillo. 

"  That  sort  of  stuff  has  to  be  in  a  man's  blood.  Born  in 
him — must  be !  "  said  the  Englishman. 

And  then  David  Rossi  came  vip  with  a  new  bridle  to  his 
sorrel,  and  Sir  Evelyn  added,  "  You  handle  a  horse  like  a  man 
who  began  early,  Mr.  Rossi." 

"  Yes,"  said  David  Rossi,  "  I  was  a  stable-boy  two  years 
in  IvTew  York,  your  Excellency." 

At  that  moment  the  huntsman  who  was  leading  with  two 
English  terriers  gave  the  signal  that  the  fox  was  started,  where- 
upon the  hounds  yelped,  the  whips  whistled,  and  the  horses 
broke  into  a  canter. 

Two  hours  afterw'ards  the  poor  little  creature  that  had  been 
the  origin  of  the  holiday  was  tracked  to  earth  and  killed.  Its 
head  and  tail  were  cut  off,  and  the  rest  of  its  body  was  thrown 
to  the  dogs.  After  that  flasks  were  taken  out,  healths  were 
drunk,  cheers  were  given,  and  then  the  hunt  broke  up,  and  the 
hunters  began  to  return  at  an  easy  trot. 

Roma  and  David  Rossi  were  riding  side  by  side,  and  the 
Princess  was  a  pace  or  two  behind  them. 

"  Roma ! "  cried  the  Princess,  "  what  a  stretch  for  a 
gallop !  " 

"  Isn't  it  ?  "  said  Roma,  and  in  a  moment  she  was  off. 

"  I  believe  her  mare  has  mastered  her,"  said  the  Princess, 
and  at  the  next  instant  David  Rossi  was  gone  too. 


ROMA  153 

"  Peace  be  with  them !  They're  a  lovely  pair !  "  said  the 
Princess,  laughing.  "  But  we  might  as  well  go  home.  They 
are  like  Undine,  and  will  return  no  more.'" 


Meantime,  with  the  light  breeze  in  her  ears,  and  the  beat  of 
her  horse's  hoofs  echoing  among  the  aqueducts  and  tombs, 
Roma  galloped  over  the  broad  Campagna.  After  a  moment  she 
heard  some  one  coming  after  her,  and  for  joy  of  being  pursued 
she  whipped  up  and  galloped  faster.  Without  looking  back 
she  knew  who  was  behind,  and  as  her  horse  flew  over  the  hillocks 
her  heart  leaped  and  sang.  When  the  strong-limbed  sorrel 
came  up  with  the  quiet  bay  mare,  they  were  nearly  two  miles 
from  their  starting-place,  and  far  out  of  the  track  of  their  fel- 
low-hunters. Both  were  aglow  from  head  to  foot,  and  as  they 
drew  rein  they  looked  at  each  other  and  laughed. 

"  Might  as  well  go  on  now,  and  come  out  by  the  English 
cemetery,"  said  Roma. 

"  Good !  "  said  David  Rossi. 

"  But  it's  half-past  two,"  said  Roma,  looking  at  her  little 
watch,  "  and  I'm  as  hungry  as  a  hunter." 

"  Xaturally,"  said  David  Rossi,  and  they  laughed  again. 
There  was  an  osteria  somewhere  in  that  neighbourhood.  He 
had  known  it  when  he  was  a  boy.  They  would  dine  on  yellow 
beans  and  maccaroni. 

"What  a  lovely  world  it  is!"  she  said,  pretending  to  look 
round  at  the  landscape. 

"  It  is  a  lovely  world,"  he  answered,  and  then  they  laughed 
once  more. 

Monte  Genario's  snow-capped  peak  was  shining  in  hues  of 
opal  and  rose,  and  the  Sabine  hills  looked  bright  and  near,  with 
Tivoli  and  Palestrina  trembling  in  a  purple  haze.  But  riding 
side  by  side  they  were  in  a  world  that  was  all  their  own.  and 
the  golden  cloud  that  wrapped  them  round  shut  out  everything 
else  on  earth. 

Presently  they  saw  a  house  smoking  under  a  scraggy  clump 
of  eucalyptus.  It  was  the  osteria,  half  farmstead  and  half  inn. 
A  timid  lad  took  their  horses,  an  evil-looking  old  man  bowed 
them  into  the  porch,  and  an  elderly  woman,  with  a  frightened 
expression  and  a  face  wrinkled  like  the  bark  of  a  cedar,  brought 
them  a  bill  of  fare. 

They  lansrhed  at  everything — at  the  unfamiliar  menu,  be- 
ll 


154  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

cause  it  was  soiled  enough  to  have  served  for  a  year;  at  the 
food,  because  it  was  so  simple;  and  at  the  prices,  because  they 
were  so  cheap. 

Roma  looked  over  David  Rossi's  shoulder  as  he  read  out  the 
bill  of  fare,  and  they  ordered  the  dinner  together. 

"  Maccaroni  —  threepence !  Right !  Trout  —  fourpence ! 
Shall  we  have  fourpennyworth  of  trout?  Good!  Lamb — six- 
pence! We'll  take  two  lambs — I  mean  two  sixpennyworth's," 
and  then  more  laughter. 

While  the  dinner  was  cooking  they  went  out  to  walk  among 
the  eucalyptus,  and  came  upon  a  beautiful  dell  surrounded  by 
trees  and  carpeted  with  wild  flowers. 

"  Carnival !  "  cried  Roma.  "  Now  if  there  was  anybody 
here  to  throw  a  flower  at  one !  " 

He  picked  up  a  handful  of  violets  and  tossed  them  over  her 
head. 

"  When  I  was  a  boy  this  was  where  men  fought  duels," 
said  David  Rossi. 

"  The  brutes !  What  a  lovely  spot !  Must  be  the  place 
where  Pharaoh's  daughter  found  Moses  in  the  bulrushes ! " 

"  Or  where  Adam  found  Eve  in  the  garden  of  Eden  1 " 

They  looked  at  each  other  and  smiled. 

"  What  a  surprise  that  must  have  been  to  him,"  said  Roma. 
"  Whatever  did  he  think  she  was,  I  wonder  ?  " 

"  An  angel  who  had  come  down  in  the  moonlight  and  for- 
gotten to  go  up  in  the  morning !  " 

"  ISTonsense !  He  wovild  know  in  a  moment  she  was  a 
woman." 

"  Think  of  it!  She  was  the  only  woman  in  the  world  for 
him?" 

"  And  fancy !    He  was  the  only  man  !  " 

The  dinner  was  one  long  delight.  Even  its  drawbacks  were 
no  disadvantage.  The  table  had  been  laid  on  a  vine  terrace, 
which  being  thinned  of  its  leaves  by  the  cold  of  winter,  revealed 
an  untidy  farmyard  with  neglected  pig-styes,  but  Roma  would 
not  have  things  changed. 

"  Beautiful !  "  she  said.  "  We  see  the  pig-styes  slantwards 
from  here,"  and  then  they  laughed  again,  and  the  wizened  old 
woman  who  waited,  laughed  with  them,  and  called  Roma 
"  Little  Sister." 

Roma  had  begun  to  speak  in  English.  "  'No  use  hurting 
the  old  lady,"  she  whispered  across  the  table,  and  David  Rossi 
pretended  to  be  deceived. 


ROMA  155 

"A  beauty,  isn't  she?" 

"  Yes,  the  old  man  is  afraid  she'll  be  kidnapped  for  a  Ma- 
donna," and  then  they  laughed  once  more,  and  the  old  woman, 
being  a  true  daughter  of  the  soil,  laughed  for  joy  of  their 
merry  laughter. 

The  food  was  bad,  and  it  was  badly  cooked  and  badly  served, 
but  nothing  mattered. 

"  Only  one  fork  for  all  these  dishes  ? "  asked  David  Rossi. 

"  That's  the  best  of  it,"  said  Eoma.  "  You  only  get  one 
dirty  one." 

Suddenly  she  dropped  knife  and  fork,  and  held  up  both 
hands.    "  I  forgot !  " 

"What?" 

"  I  was  to  be  Little  Roma  all  day  to-day." 

"  Why,  so  you  are,  and  so  you  have  been." 

"  That  cannot  be,  or  you  would  call  her  by  her  name,  you 
know." 

"  I'll  do  so  the  moment  she  calls  me  by  mine." 

"  That's  not  fair,"  said  Roma,  and  her  face  flushed  up,  for 
the  wine  of  life  had  risen  to  her  eyes. 

In  a  vineyard  below  a  girl  working  among  the  orange-trees 
was  singing  stornelU.  It  was  a  song  of  a  mother  to  her  son. 
He  had  gone  away  from  the  old  roof-tree,  but  he  would  come 
back  some  day.  His  new  home  was  bright  and  big,  but  the 
old  hearthstone  would  draw  him  home.  Beautiful  ladies 
loved  him,  but  the  white-haired  mother  would  kiss  him 
again. 

They  listened  for  a  short  dreaming  space,  and  their  laughter 
ceased  and  their  eyes  grew  moist.  Then  they  called  for  the 
bill,  and  the  old  man  with  the  evil  face  came  up  with  a  forged 
smile  from  a  bank  that  had  clearly  no  assets  of  that  kind  to 
draw  upon. 

"  You've  been  a  long  time  in  this  house,  landlord,"  said 
David  Rossi. 

"  Very  long  time,  Excellency,"  said  the  man. 

"  You  came  from  the  Ciociaria." 

"  Why,  yes,  I  did,"  said  the  man,  with  a  look  of  surprise. 
"  I  was  poor  then,  and  later  on  I  lived  in  the  caves  and  grottoes 
of  Monte  Parioli." 

"  But  you  knew  how  to  cure  the  phylloxera  in  the  vines,  and 
when  your  master  died  you  married  his  daughter  and  came  into 
his  vineyard." 

"  Angelica !     Here's  a  gentleman  who  knows  all  about  us," 


156  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

said  the  old  man,  and  then,  grinning  from  ear  to  ear,  he 
added — 

"  Perhaps  your  Excellency  was  the  young  gentleman  who 
used  to  visit  with  his  father  at  the  Count's  palace  on  the  hill 
twenty  to  thirty  years  ago  ?  " 

David  Rossi  looked  him  steadfastly  in  the  face  and  said, 
"  Do  you  remember  the  poor  boy  who  lived  with  you  at  that 
time?" 

The  forged  smile  was  gone  in  a  moment.  "  We  had  no  boy 
then,  Excellency." 

"  He  came  to  you  from  Santo  Spirito  and  you  got  a  hundred 
francs  with  him  at  first,  and  then  you  built  this  pergola." 

"  If  your  Excellency  is  from  the  Foundling,  you  may  tell 
them  again,  as  I  told  the  priest  who  came  before,  that  we  never 
took  a  boy  from  there,  and  we  had  no  money  from  the  people 
who  sent  him  to  London." 

"  You  don't  remember  him,  then  ?  " 

"  Certainly  not." 

"Nor  you?" 

The  old  woman  hesitated,  and  the  old  man  made  mouths 
at  her. 

"  No,  Excellency." 

David  Rossi  took  a  long  breath.  "  Here  is  the  amount  of 
your  bill,  and  something  over.     Good-bye !  " 

The  timid  lad  brought  round  the  horses  and  the  riders 
prepared  to  mount.  Roma  was  looking  at  the  boy  with  pity- 
ing eyes. 

"  How  long  have  you  been  here  ?  "  she  asked. 

"  Ten  years,  Excellency,"  he  replied. 

He  was  just  twelve  years  of  age  and  both  his  parents  were 
dead. 

"  Poor  little  fellow !  "  said  Roma,  and  before  David  Rossi 
could  prevent  her  she  was  emptying  her  purse  into  the  boy's 
hand. 

They  set  off  at  a  trot,  and  for  some  time  they  did  not  ex- 
change a  word.  The  sun  was  sinking  and  the  golden  day  was 
dying  down.  Over  the  broad  swell  of  the  Campagna,  treeless, 
houseless,  a  dull  haze  was  creeping  like  a  shroud,  and  the  long 
knotted  grass  was  swept  by  the  chill  breath  of  evening.  Noth- 
ing broke  the  wide  silence  of  the  desolate  space  except  the  low- 
ing of  cattle,  the  bleat  of  sheep  that  were  moving  in  masses 
like  the  woolly  waves  of  a  sea,  the  bark  of  big  white  dogs,  the 
shouts  of  cowherds  carrying  long  staves,  and  of  shepherds  rid- 


ROMA  157 

ing  on  shaggy  ponies.  Here  and  there  were  wretched  straw 
huts,  with  groups  of  fever-stricken  people  crouching  over  the 
embers  of  miserable  fires,  and  here  and  there  were  dirty  pot- 
houses, which  alternated  with  wooden  crosses  of  the  Christ  and 
glass-covered  shrines  of  the  Madonna. 

The  rhythm  of  the  saddles  ceased  and  the  horses  walked. 

"  Was  that  the  place  where  you  were  brought  up  ? "  said 
Roma. 

"  Yes." 

"  And  those  were  the  people  who  sold  you  into  slavery,  so 
to  speak  ? " 

"  Yes." 

"  And  you  could  have  confounded  them  with  one  word, 
and  did  not !  " 

"  What  was  the  use  ?  Besides,  they  were  not  the  first 
offenders." 

"  No,  your  father  was  more  to  blame.  Don't  you  feel 
sometimes  as  if  you  could  hate  him  for  what  he  has  made 
you  suffer  ? " 

David  Rossi  shook  his  head.  "  I  was  saved  from  that  bit- 
terness by  the  saint  who  saved  me  from  so  much  besides. 
*  Don't  try  to  find  out  who  your  father  is,  David,'  he  said,  '  and 
if  by  chance  you  ever  do  find  out,  don't  return  evil  for  evil,  and 
don't  avenge  yourself  on  the  world.  By  and  by  the  world  will 
know  you  for  what  you  are  yourself,  not  for  what  your  father 
is.  Perhaps  your  father  is  a  bad  man,  perhaps  ho  isn't. 
Leave  him  to  God ! '  " 

"  It's  a  terrible  thing  to  think  evil  of  one's  own  father,  isn't 
it  ? "  said  Roma,  but  David  Rossi  did  not  reply. 

"  And  then — who  knows  ? — perhaps  some  day  you  may  dis- 
cover that  your  father  deserved  your  love  and  pity  after  all." 

"  Perhaps !  " 

They  had  drawn  up  at  another  hcjuse  under  a  thick  clump 
of  eucalyptus  trees.  It  was  the  Trappist  Monastery  of  Tre 
Fontane.  Silence  was  everywhere  in  this  home  of  silence. 
Leaving  the  horses  at  the  lodge,  they  walked  through  the  outer 
courts.  They  looked  in  at  the  windows  of  the  library,  where  a 
white- faced  youth  was  bending  in  silence  over  a  book.  They 
stood  a  moment  at  the  door  of  the  chapel,  where  the  service  of 
Benediction  was  being  sung  in  silence,  with  no  sound  but  the 
tinkling  of  a  bell.  Only  the  birds  were  singing  aloiid — the 
nightingales  in  the  tall  grey  trees. 

There  was  a  clock  tower,  and  they  went  up  on  to  the  roof. 


158  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

From  that  height  the  whole  world  around  seemed  to  be  in- 
vaded by  silence.  It  was  like  a  sea  after  a  storm,  and  the  rem- 
nants of  the  cities  that  lay  dead  under  the  Campagna  were 
the  driftwood  from  the  wrecks  of  a  mighty  fleet  that  was  swal- 
lowed up  and  gone.  The  long  line  of  aqueducts  that  stretch 
across  the  undulating  waste  looked  like  ships  with  torn  sails 
heading  back  to  port  after  a  lost  battle,  and  Kome  in  the  dis- 
tance, rising  out  of  puri)le  haze,  was  a  half-submerged  island 
on  which  the  great  dome  of  St.  Peter's  rested  like  an  ark. 

The  silence  of  the  world  from  that  clock-tower  was  the 
silence  of  all  sacred  things,  the  silence  of  the  mass;  and  the 
undying  paganism  in  the  hearts  of  the  two  that  stood  there  had 
its  eloquent  silence  also. 

Roma  was  leaning  on  the  pai'apct  with  David  Rossi  behind 
her,  when  suddenly  she  began  to  weep.  She  wept  violently 
and  sobbed. 

"  What  is  it?  "  he  asked,  but  she  did  not  answer. 

After  a  while  she  grew  calm  and  dried  her  eyes,  called  her- 
self foolish  and  began  to  laugh.  But  tlie  heart-beats  were  too 
audible  without  saying  something,  and  at  length  she  tried 
to  speak. 

"It  was  the  poor  boy  at  the  inn,"  she  said;  "the  sight  of 
his  sweet  face  brought  back  a  scene  I  had  quite  forgotten,"  and 
then,  in  a  faltering  voice,  turning  her  head  away,  she  told  him 
everything. 

"  It  was  in  London,  and  my  father  had  found  a  little  Roman 
boy  in  the  streets  on  a  winter's  night,  carrying  a  squirrel  and 
playing  an  accordion.  He  wore  a  tattered  suit  of  velveteens, 
and  that  was  all  that  sheltered  his  little  body  from  the  cold. 
His  fingers  were  frozen  stiff,  and  he  fainted  when  they  brought 
him  into  the  house.  After  a  while  he  opened  his  eyes,  and 
gazed  around  at  the  fire  and  the  faces  about  him,  and  seemed 
to  be  looking  for  something.  It  was  his  squirrel,  and  it  was 
frozen  dead.  But  he  grasped  it  tight  and  big  tears  rolled  on  to 
his  cheeks,  and  he  raised  himself  as  if  to  escape.  He  was 
too  weak  for  that,  and  my  father  comforted  him  and  he  lay 
still.  That  was  when  I  saw  him  first ;  and  looking  at  the  poor 
boy  at  the  inn  I  thought  ...  I  thought  perhaps  he  was  an- 
other .  .  .  perhaps  my  little  friend  of  long  ago  .  .  ." 

Her  white  throat  was  throbbing,  and  her  faltering  voice 
was  failing  like  a  pendulum  that  is  about  to  stop. 

"  Roma !  "  he  cried  over  his  shoulder, 

"  David !  " 


ROMA  159 

Their  eyes  met,  their  hands  clasped,  their  pent-up  secret  was 
out,  and  in  the  dim-lit  catacombs  of  love  two  souls  stood  face 
to  face. 

"  How  long  have  you  known  it  ? "  she  whispered. 

"  Since  the  night  you  came  to  the  Piazza  Xavona.     And 


you 


2" 


"  Since  the  moment  I  heard  your  voice."  And  then  she 
shuddered  and  laughed. 

When  they  left  the  house  of  silence  a  blessed  hush  had 
fallen  on  them,  a  great  wonder  which  they  had  never  known 
before,  the  wonder  of  the  everlasting  miracle  of  human  hearts. 

The  sun  was  setting  behind  Kome  in  a  glorious  blaze  of 
crimson,  with  the  domes  of  churches  glistening  in  the  hori- 
zontal rays,  and  the  dark  globe  of  St.  Peter's  hovering  over  all. 
The  mortal  melancholy  which  had  been  lying  over  the  world 
seemed  to  be  lifted  away,  and  the  earth  smiled  with  flowers  and 
the  heavens  shone  with  gold. 

Only  the  rhythmic  cadence  of  the  saddles  broke  the  silence 
as  they  swung  to  the  movement  of  the  horses.  Sometimes  they 
looked  at  each  other,  and  then  they  smiled,  but  they  did 
not  speak. 

The  sun  went  down,  and  there  was  a  far-off  ringing  of  bells. 
It  was  Ave  Maria.  They  drew  up  the  horses  for  a  moment  and 
dropped  their  heads.    Then  they  started  again. 

The  night  chills  were  coming,  and  they  rode  hard.  Roma 
bent  over  the  mane  of  her  horse  and  looked  proud  and  happy. 

Grooms  were  waiting  for  them  at  the  gate  of  St.  Paul,  and, 
giving  up  their  horses,  they  got  into  a  carriage.  When  they 
reached  Trinita  de'  Monti  the  lamplighter  was  lighting  the 
lamps  on  the  steps  of  the  piazza,  and  Roma  said  in  a  low  voice, 
with  a  blush  and  a  smile : 

"  Don't  come  in  to-night — not  to-night,  you  know." 

She  wanted  to  be  alone. 

XI 

Felice  met  Roma  at  the  door  of  her  own  apartment,  and 
in  more  than  usually  sepulchral  tones  announced  that  the 
Countess  had  wished  to  see  her  as  soon  as  she  came  home. 
Without  waiting  to  change  her  riding-habit,  Roma  turned 
into  her  aunt's  room. 

The  old  lady  was  propped  up  with  pillows,  and  Natalina  was 
fussing  about  her.    Her  eyes  glittered,  her  thin  lips  were  com- 


160  'I'^J*^  ETERNAL  CITY 

pressed,  and  regardless  of  the  presence  of  the  maid,  she 
straightway  fell  upon  Koma  with  bitter  reproaches. 

"  Did  you  wish  to  see  me,  aunt  ? "  said  Roma,  and  the  old 
lady  answered  in  a  mocking  falsetto : 

"  Did  I  wish  to  see  you,  miss  ?  Certainly  I  wished  to  see 
you,  although  I'm  a  broken-hearted  woman  and  sorry  for  the 
day  I  saw  you  first." 

"  What  have  I  done  now  ?  "  said  Roma,  and  the  radiant  look 
in  her  face  provoked  the  old  lady  to  still  louder  denunciations. 

"  What  have  you  done?  Mercy  me!  .  .  .  Give  me  my  salts, 
Natalina!" 

"  Xatalina,"  said  Roma  quietly,  "  lay  out  my  studio  things, 
and  if  Bruno  has  gone,  tell  Felice  to  light  the  lamps  and  see  to 
the  stove  downstairs." 

The  old  lady  fanned  herself  with  her  embroidered  handker- 
chief and  began  again. 

"  I  thought  you  meant  to  mend  your  ways  when  you  came 
in  yesterday,  miss — you  were  so  meek  and  modest.  But  what 
was  the  fact?  You  had  come  to  me  straight  from  that  man's 
apartments.  You  had!  You  know  you  had!  Don't  try  to 
deny  it." 

"  I  don't  deny  it,"  said  Roma. 

"Holy  Virgin!  She  doesn't  deny  it!  Perhaps  you  ad- 
mit it?" 

"I  do  admit  it." 

"Madonna  mitt!  She  admits  it!  Perhaps  you  made  an 
appointment?  " 

"  Xo,  I  went  without  an  appointment." 

"  Merciful  heavens !  She  is  on  such  terms  with  the  man 
that  she  can  go  to  his  apartments  without  even  an  appoint- 
ment!   Perhaps  you  were  alone  with  him,  miss?" 

"  Yes,  we  were  quite  alone,"  said  Roma. 

The  old  lady,  who  was  apparently  about  to  faint  right  away, 
looked  up  at  her  little  shrine,  and  said : 

"(loodness!  A  girl!  iVot  even  a  married  woman!  And 
without  a  maid,  too !  " 

Trying  not  to  lose  control  of  hers(ilf,  Roma  stepix-d  to  the 
door,  but  her  aunt  followed  her  up. 

"  A  man  like  that,  too !  Not  even  a  gentleman  !  The  hypo- 
crite!  The  impostor!   With  his  airs  of  purity  and  pretence!" 

"  Aunt  Betsy,"  said  Roma,  "  I  was  sorry  I  si)oke  to  you  as  I 
did  the  other  night,  not  because  anything  I  said  was  wrong,  but 
because  you  are  weak  and  bedridden  and  suffering.    Don't  pro- 


ROMA  161 

voke  me  to  speak  again  as  I  spoke  before.  I  did  go  to  Mr. 
Kossi's  rooms  yesterday,  and  if  there  is  any  fault  in  tliat,  I 
alone  am  to  blame." 

"  Are  you  indeed  ?  "  said  the  old  lady,  with  a  shrill  piping 
cry.  "  Holy  Saints !  she  admits  so  much !  Do  you  know  what 
people  will  call  you  when  they  hear  of  it?  A  hussy.  A 
shameless  hussy ! '' 

Koma  was  flaming  up,  but  she  controlled  herself  and  put 
her  hand  on  the  door-handle. 

"  They  will  hear  of  it,  depend  on  that,"  cried  the  Countess. 
"  Last  night  at  dinner  the  women  were  talking  of  nothing  else. 
Felice  heard  all  their  chattering.  That  woman  let  the  dog  out 
to  follow  you,  knowing  it  would  go  straight  to  the  man's  rooms. 
'  Whom  did  it  come  home  with,  Felice  ? '  '  Donna  Koma,  your 
Excellency.'  '  Then  it's  clear  where  Donna  Roma  had  been.' 
Ugh!  I  could  choke  to  think  of  it.  My  head  is  fit  to  split! 
Is  there  any  cognac  .  .  .  ? " 

Roma's  bosom  was  visibly  stirred  by  her  breathing,  but  she 
answered  quietly: 

"  No  matter !  Why  should  I  care  what  is  thought  of  my 
conduct  by  people  who  have  no  morality  of  their  own  to 
judge  me  by  ?  " 

"  Really  now  ?  "  said  the  Countess,  twisting  the  wrinkles  of 
her  old  face  into  skeins  of  mock  courtesy.  "  Upon  my  word,  I 
didn't  think  you  were  so  simple.  Understand,  miss,  it  isn't  the 
opinion  of  the  Princess  Bellini  I  am  thinking  about,  but  that  of 
the  Baron  Bonelli.  He  has  his  dignity  to  consider,  and  when 
the  time  comes  and  he  is  free  to  take  a  wife,  he  is  not  likely  to 
marry  a  girl  who  has  been  talked  of  with  another  man.  Don't 
you  see  what  that  woman  is  doing?  She  has  been  doing  it  all 
along,  and  like  a  simpleton  you've  been  helping  her.  You've 
been  flinging  away  your  chances  with  this  Rossi  and  making 
yourself  impossible  to  the  Minister." 

Roma  tossed  her  head  and  answered : 

"  I  don't  care  if  I  have.  Aunt  Betsy.  I'm  not  of  the  same 
mind  as  I  used  to  be,  and  I  think  no  longer  that  the  holiest 
things  are  to  be  bought  and  sold  like  so  much  merchandise." 

The  old  lady,  who  had  been  bending  forward  in  her  vehe- 
mence, fell  back  on  the  pillow. 

"  You'll  kill  me !  "  she  cried.  "  Where  did  you  learn  such 
folly?  Goodness  knows  I've  done  my  best  by  you.  I  have 
tried  to  teach  you  your  duty  to  the  Baron  and  to  Society.  But 
all  this  comes  of  admitting  these  anarchists  into  the  house. 


162  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

You  can't  help  it,  though!     It's  in  your  blood!     Tour  father 

before  you  .  .  ." 

Crimson  and  trembling  from  head  to  foot,  Roma  turned 
suddenly  and  left  the  room.  Natalina  and  Felice  were  listen- 
ing on  the  other  side  of  the  door. 

But  not  even  this  jarring  incident  could  break  the  spell  of 
Roma's  enchantment,  and  when  dinner  was  over,  and  she  had 
gone  to  the  studio  and  closed  the  door,  the  whole  world  seemed 
to  be  shut  out,  and  nothing  was  of  the  slightest  consequence. 
If  she  remembered  her  aunt's  anger,  she  thought,  "  My  father 
bore  more  than  that  for  me."  If  she  recalled  the  schemes 
of  the  Princess,  she  told  herself  they  were  petty  and  vain. 
She  had  undergone  transition  to  another  state  of  being,  and 
was  wrapped  in  a  golden  cloud  which  included  only  one  person 
beside  herself. 

Taking  the  damp  cloth  from  the  bust,  she  looked  at  her 
work  again.  In  the  light  of  the  aurora  she  now  lived  in,  the 
head  she  had  wrought  with  so  much  labour  was  poor  and  in- 
adequate. It  did  not  represent  the  original.  It  was  weak 
and  wrong. 

She  set  to  work  again,  and  little  by  little  the  face  in  the  clay 
began  to  change.  Not  Peter  any  longer,  Peter  the  disciple,  but 
Another.  It  was  audacious,  it  was  shocking,  but  no  matter! 
She  was  not  afraid. 

Time  passed,  but  she  did  not  heed  it.  She  was  working  at 
lightning  speed,  and  with  a  power  she  had  never  felt  before. 
Sometimes  she  stood  off  from  the  bust  to  look  at  it,  then  came 
back  and  went  on  again.  The  hot  blood  was  in  her  cheeks. 
She  was  glowing,  breathing  hard,  laughing  little  trills  of 
laughter,  but  working  on,  on,  on. 

And  while  she  worked,  the  influence  of  her  new  life  was  fill- 
ing her  mind  with  pictures.  She  was  going  over  every  incident 
of  the  day,  every  Avord,  every  tone,  every  little  trivial  thing.  It 
was  all  so  mysterious,  so  miraculous.  The  violets  he  had 
plucked  in  the  dell  were  her  favourite  flowers.  Were  they  his 
also?  How  strange!  A  look  of  pain  had  crossed  his  face  when - 
she  dismissed  him  at  the  door.  Had  he  wished  to  come  in? 
How  sweet  that  was!  It  was  like  galloping  on  the  Campagna 
with  some  one  galloping  behind  you.  But  she  had  only  wanted 
to  be  alone,  so  that  she  might  be  the  more  alone  with  him. 
Strange  paradox  !  Escaping,  hiding,  flying  from  some  one,  that 
you  may  have  him  nearer,  nearer,  nearer!  How  suddenly 
everything  had  happened !     Was   it  her  dream  of  long  ago  • 


ROMA  163 

coining  true  at  last — her  dream  of  the  man — the  right  one — 
who  was  to  meet  her  at  the  gate  of  life  and  take  her  up,  up,  up  ? 

Night  came  on,  and  the  old  Rome,  the  Rome  of  the  Popes, 
repossessed  itself  of  the  Eternal  City.  The  silent  streets,  the 
dark  patches,  the  luminous  piazzas,  the  three  lights  on  the 
loggia  of  the  Vatican,  the  grey  ghost  of  the  great  dome,  the 
kind  stars,  the  sweet  moon,  and  the  church  bells  striking  one  by 
one  during  the  noiseless  night. 

At  length  she  became  aware  of  a  streak  of  light  on  the  floor. 
It  was  coming  through  the  shutters  of  the  window.  She  threw 
them  open,  and  the  breeze  of  morning  came  up  from  the  orange 
trees  in  the  garden  below.  The  day  was  dawning  over  the 
sleepy  city.  Convent  bells  were  ringing  for  matins,  but  all  else 
was  still,  and  the  silence  was  sweet  and  deep. 

She  turned  back  to  her  work  and  looked  at  it  again.  It 
thrilled  her  now.  She  walked  to  and  fro  in  the  studio  and 
felt  as  if  she  were  walking  on  the  stars.  She  was  happy,  happy, 
happy ! 

Then  the  city  began  to  sound  on  every  side.  Cabs  rattled, 
electric  trams  tinkled,  vendors  called  their  wares  in  the  streets, 
and  the  new  Rome,  the  Rome  of  the  Kings,  awoke. 

Somebody  was  singing  as  he  came  upstairs.  It  was  Bruno, 
coming  to  his  work.  He  looked  astonished,  for  the  lamps  were 
still  burning,  although  the  sunlight  was  streaming  into  the 
room. 

"  Been  working  all  night.  Donna  Roma  ? "' 

"  Fear  I  have,  Bruno,  but  I'm  going  to  bed  now." 

She  had  an  impulse  to  call  him  up  to  her  work  and  say, 
"  Look !  I  did  that,  for  I  am  a  great  artist."  But,  no  I  Xot 
yet !    Xot  yet ! 

She  had  covered  up  the  clay,  and  turned  the  key  of  her  own 
compartment,  when  the  bell  rang  on  the  floor  above.  It  was  the 
porter  with  the  post,  and  Xatalina,  in  curl  papers,  met  her  on 
the  landing  with  the  letters. 

One  of  them  was  from  the  Mayor,  thanking  her  for  what  she 
had  done  for  Charles  Minghelli ;  another  was  from  her  land- 
lord, thanking  her  for  his  translation  to  Paris;  a  third  was 
from  the  fashionable  modiste,  thanking  her  for  an  invitation 
from  the  Minister.  A  feeling  of  shame  came  over  her  as  she 
glanced  at  these  letters.  They  brought  the  implication  of  an 
immoral  influence,  the  atmosphere  of  an  evil  life. 

There  was  a  fourth  letter.  It  was  from  the  Minister  him- 
self.   She  had  seen  it  from  the  first,  but  a  creepy  sense  of  im- 


164:  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

pending  trouble  had  made  her  keep  it  to  the  last.     Ought  she 
to  open  it?     She  ought,  she  must! 

"  My  Darling  Child, — You  cannot  drop  it  now.  It  would 
be  weak  and  foolish.  Besides,  it  is  impossible.  Everybody 
knows  what  you  set  out  to  do.  Think  of  awakening  some 
morning  to  find  all  Kome  laughing  at  you!  Donna  Koma 
caught  in  her  own  nets !  Mademoiselle  Manon  Lescaut  in  her 
own  toils!  Cruel  and  unjust,  but  inevitable,  and  these  red-hot 
prophets  in  petticoats,  how  they  would  scream ! 

"  JNTews  at  last,  too,  and  success  within  hail.  Minghelli,  the 
Grand  Hotel,  the  reference  in  London,  and  the  dead-and-buried 
nightmare  have  led  up  to  and  compassed  everything !  Prepare 
for  a  great  surprise — David  Rossi  is  not  David  Rossi,  but  a 
condemned  man  who  has  no  right  to  live  in  Italy!  Prepare, 
for  a  still  greater  surprise — he  has  no  right  to  live  at  all! 

"  So  you  are  avenged !  The  man  humiliated  and  degraded 
you.  He  insulted  me  also,  and  did  his  best  to  make  me  resign 
my  portfolio  and  put  my  private  life  on  its  defence.  You  set 
out  to  undo  the  effects  of  his  libel  and  to  punish  him  for  his 
outrage.  You've  done  it !  You  have  avenged  yourself  for  both 
of  us !  It's  all  your  work !  You  are  magnificent !  And  now 
let  us  draw  the  net  closer  ...  let  us  hold  him  fast  ...  let  us 
go  on  as  we  have  begun  .  .  ." 

Her  sight  grew  dim.  The  letter  seemed  to  be  full  of 
blotches.  It  dropped  out  of  her  helpless  fingers.  She  sat  a  long 
time  looking  out  on  the  sunlit  city,  and  all  the  world  grew  dark 
and  chill.    Then  she  rose,  and  her  face  was  pale  and  rigid. 

"  ISTo,  I  will  not  go  on!"  she  thought.  "I  will  not  betray 
him!  I  will  save  him!  He  insulted  me,  he  humiliated  me,  he 
was  my  enemy,  but  ...  I  love  him !    I  love  him !  " 


PAET   FOUK 

DA  VII)   EO^jSI 


David  Rossi  was  in  his  bedroom  writing  his  leader  for  next 
morning's  paper.  A  lamp  with  a  dark  shade  burned  on  the 
desk,  and  the  rest  of  the  room  was  in  shadow.  It  was  late,  and 
the  house  was  quiet. 

The  Government  had  convoked  Parliament  for  the  day 
after  to-morrow.  Copies  of  the  King's  speech  had  been  sent  in 
confidence  to  the  leaders  of  parties  and  to  the  press.  As  editor 
of  the  Sunrise,  David  Rossi  was  writing  the  ambiguous  forecast 
which  etiquette  prescribes  in  such  cases. 

"  The  public  will  not  be  surprised  if  the  King's  speech 
recommends  .  .  ." 

The  door  opened  softly,  and  Bruno,  in  shirt-sleeves  and 
slippered  feet,  came  on  tiptoe  into  the  room.  He  brought  a 
letter  in  a  large  violet  envelope  with  a  monogram  on  the  front 
of  it,  and  put  it  down  on  the  desk  by  Rossi's  side.  It  was 
from  Roma. 

"  Dear  David  Rossi, — Without  rhyme  or  reason  I  have 
been  expecting  to  see  you  here  to-day,  having  something  to  say 
which  it  is  important  that  you  should  hear.  May  I  expect 
you  in  the  morning?  Knowing  how  busy  you  are,  I  dare  not 
bid  you  come,  yet  the  matter  is  of  great  consequence  and  admits 
of  no  delay.  It  is  not  a  subject  on  which  it  is  safe  or  proper  to 
write,  and  how  to  speak  of  it  I  am  at  a  loss  to  decide.  Have 
you  ever  known  what  it  is  to  feel  that  it  would  be  the  act  of  a 
friend  to  say  something,  yet  just  because  you  are  a  friend  you 
cannot  bring  yourself  to  say  it?  That  is  my  case  now,  compli- 
cated perhaps  by  other  and  more  personal  considerations.  But 
you  shall  help  me.    Therefore  come  without  delay.     There!    I 

165 


166  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

have  bidden  you  come  in  spite  of  myself.    Judge  from  that  how 
eager  is  my  expectation. — In  haste,  Roma  V. 

"P.S. — What  a  day  we  had  on  the  Campagna!  I  have 
sometimes  closed  my  eyes  and  taken  a  breath  back  into  yester- 
day as  into  a  dream  that  is  fading  away,  and  found  it  difficult 
to  believe  that  it  has  all  come  true.  Only  think !  You  and  I 
have  come  into  each  other's  lives  again,  like  two  streams  which, 
running  underground,  have  burst  into  the  sunlight.  Isn't  it 
beautiful?  How  lonely  I  must  have  been  in  spite  of  all  my 
noisy  surroundings !  And  how  I  must  have  wanted  a  big 
brother!  Want  me  for  a  sister,  please,  and  I  shall  be  so 
happy. 

"  P.S.  ISTo.  2. — I  open  my  envelope  again,  to  wonder  if  you 
can  ever  forgive  me  the  humiliations  you  have  suffered  for  my 
sake.  To  think  that  I  threw  you  into  the  way  of  them !  And 
merely  to  wipe  out  an  offence  that  is  not  worth  considering! 
I  am  ashamed  of  myself.  I  am  also  ashamed  of  the  people 
about  me.  You  will  remember  that  I  told  you  they  were  pitiless 
and  cruel.  They  are  worse — they  are  heartless  and  without 
mercy.  But  how  bravely  you  bore  their  insults  and  innu- 
endoes !  I  almost  cry  to  think  of  it,  and  if  I  were  a  good 
Catholic  I  should  confess  and  do  penance.  See?  I  do  confess, 
and  if  you  want  me  to  do  penance  you  will  come  yourself  and 
impose  it. 

"  P.S.  No.  3. — Just  had  proof  how  miieh  of  a  revolutionary 
my  poor  father  must  have  been.  The  moment  I  put  his  picture 
into  the  boudoir  there  was  anarchy  on  every  side.  All  my 
other  pictures,  as  well  as  the  creatures  of  my  menagerie — the 
stuffed  tiger  and  the  stuffed  wolf  and  the  lion's  skin  on  the 
couch — rebelled  against  his  saintly  presence.  The  clock  with 
the  figure  of  Mephistopheles — it  was  a  birthday  present  from 
the  Baron — was  loudly  and  especially  truculent.  So  to  keep 
the  peace  I've  turned  them  all  out  and  banished  them  to  my 
aunt's  bedroom.  There  they  have  been  received  with  tears  of 
pity  and  many  maledictions  on  the  ingratitude  of  their  former 
keeper.  When  you  come  again  you  will  find  me  living  in  an 
atmosphere  that  will  make  you  imagine  that  one  of  the  cells  of 
our  convent  has  wandered  from  over  the  way.  So  you  see  what 
you've  done  for  me  with  your  stories  of  my  father  and  mother 
and  their  sweet  and  noble  poverty. 

"  Come  soon.  Don't  say  you  cannot,  and  don't  talk  about 
Parliament  and  such  trifles.    You  must  come !    I  command  it ! 


DAVID  ROSSI  167 

If  you  don't  come  I  shall  persuade  myself  there  is  a  hated 
womian  in  the  wind,  and  she  is  keeping  you  away. 

"  Soberly,  I  have  a  great  scheme  to  prevent  mischief  coming 
to  you,  and  to  bring  out  all  things  well.  It  is  my  secret  and  I 
must  not  whisper  a  word  about  it  yet.  But  when  I  think  of  it, 
and  all  that  is  to  come  of  it,  I  say  to  rayself ,  '  Roma,  my  child, 
you  are  really  a  wonderful  woman  after  all,  and  no  doubt  the 
history  of  the  world  would  have  been  quite,  quite  different  if  by 
great  misfortune  you  had  never  been  born. 

"  But  everj-thing  depends  upon  your  coming.  So,  like  a 
good  boy,  come  at  once.  E.  Y." 

It  was  the  first  letter  that  David  Rossi  had  received  from 
Roma,  and  as  he  read  it  the  air  seemed  to  him  to  be  filled  with  a 
sweet  girlish  voice.  He  could  see  the  play  of  her  large,  bright, 
violet  eyes.  The  delicate  fragrance  of  the  scented  paper  rose  to 
his  nostrils,  and  without  being  conscious  of  what  he  was  doing 
he  raised  the  letter  to  his  lips. 

Then  he  became  aware  that  Bruno  was  still  in  the  room. 
The  good  fellow  was  in  the  shadow  behind  him,  pushing  things 
about  under  some  pretext  and  trying  to  make  a  noise.  When 
he  came  into  the  light,  David  Rossi  could  see  by  the  expression 
of  his  face,  under  its  unfailing  good-hmnour,  that  he  had  some- 
thing to  say  to  him. 

"Want  anything  else  to-night,  sir?" 

"  Xot  to-night,  Bruno.  Give  this  to  Francesca  for  the  boy 
when  he  comes  from  the  office,  and  go  to  bed.    Elena  has  gone  ?  " 

"  Just  gone,  sir." 

"  And  Joseph,  of  course  ?  " 

"  Fast  asleep  these  three  hours." 

"  Dear  little  man !    Don't  let  me  keep  you  up,  Bruno." 

"  Sure  you  don't  want  anything,  sir  ? "  said  Bruno  with 
confusion. 

David  Rossi  rose  and  walked  about  the  room  with  his 
slow  step. 

"  Tou  have  something  to  say  to  me,  haven't  you  ?  " 

"  Well,  yes,  sir — yes,  I  have." 

"What  is  it?" 

Bruno  scratched  his  shock  head  and  looked  about  as  if  for 
help.  His  eyes  fell  on  the  letter  lying  open  in  the  light  on  the 
desk. 

"  It's  about  that,  sir.  I  knew  where  it  came  from  by  the 
colour  and  the  monogram." 


168  THE   ETERNAL   CITY 

"Well?" 

Bruno  began  to  look  frightened,  and  then  in  a  louder  voice, 
that  bubbled  out  of  his  mouth  like  water  from  the  neck  of  a 
bottle,  he  said: 

"  Tell  you  the  truth,  sir,  people  are  talking  about  you." 

"  What  are  they  saying,  Bruno  ?  " 

"  Saying  ?  .  .  .  I  nearly  knocked  a  man  down  for  it  less 
than  an  hour  ago.  He  was  drunk,  but  truth  comes  out  with 
the  wine,  and  what's  the  use  if  it's  true  ?  " 

"If  what's  true,  old  friend?" 

"  That  something  has  come  between  you  and  the  people." 

"  They're  saying  that,  are  they  ?  " 

"  They  are.  And  doesn't  it  look  like  it,  sir  ?  You'll  allow 
it  looks  like  it,  anyway.  When  you  started  the  Kepublic,  sir, 
the  people  had  hopes  of  you.  But  a  month  is  gone  and  you 
haven't  done  a  thing." 

David  Rossi,  with  head  down,  continued  to  pace  to  and  fro. 

" '  Patience,'  I'm  saying.  '  Go  slow  and  sure,'  says  I. 
That's  all  right,  sir,  but  the  Government  is  going  fast  enough. 
Forty  thousand  men  called  out  to  keep  the  people  quiet,  and 
when  the  bread-tax  begins  on  the  first  of  the  month  the  blessed 
saints  know  what  will  happen.  A  man  might  as  well  die  of  a 
bullet  as  of  the  want  of  bread,  and  six  feet  of  earth  are  the  same 
for  all." 

David  Ilossi  did  not  reply,  and  from  fear  alone  Bruno  went 
on  repeating  himself. 

"  When  you  started  the  Republic,  sir,  the  people  had  hopes 
of  you.  But  a  month  is  gone,  and  you  haven't  done  a  thing. 
Not  a  thing  .  .  .  and  a  month  is  gone  and  .  .  ." 

"  What  do  the  people  say  is  the  reason  I  do  nothing  ?  " 

"  The  reason  ?  Ever  heard  the  saying,  '  Sun  in  the  eyes, 
the  battle  lost  ?  '  That's  the  reason,  sir.  Sun  in  the  eyes — ^you 
know  what  that  means.  To-morrow  night  we  ought  to  hold  our 
first  meeting  of  the  Committee  of  Direction.  You  called  it 
yourself,  sir,  yet  they're  laying  odds  you  won't  be  there.  Where 
will  you  be  ?     In  the  house  of  a  bad  woman  ?  " 

"  Bruno !  "  cried  Rossi  in  a  stern  voice,  "  what  right  have 
you  to  talk  to  me  like  this  ?  " 

Bruno  was  frightened  at  what  he  had  said,  but  he  tried  to 
carry  it  off  with  a  look  of  passion. 

"  Right !  The  right  of  a  friend,  sir,  who  can't  stand  by  and 
see  you  betrayed.  Yes,  betrayed,  that's  the  word  for  it.  Be- 
trayed !    Betrayed !    It's  a  plot  to  ruin  the  people  through  the 


DAVID  ROSSI  169 

weakness  of  their  leader.  A  woman  drawn  across  a  man's  trail. 
The  trick  is  as  old  as  the  ages.  Never  heard  what  we  say  in 
Rome  ? — '  The  man  is  fire,  the  woman  is  tow ;  then  comes  the 
devil  and  puts  them  together.'  " 

David  Rossi  was  standing  face  to  face  with  Bruno,  who  was 
growing  hot  and  tiying  to  laugh  bitterly. 

"  Oh,  I  know  what  I'm  saying,  sir.  The  Prime  Minister  is 
at  the  bottom  of  everything.  David  Rossi  never  goes  to  Donna 
Roma's  house  but  the  Baron  Bonelli  knows  all  about  it.  They 
write  to  each  other  every  day,  and  I've  posted  her  letters  my- 
self. Her  house  is  his  house.  Carriage,  horses,  servants, 
liveries — how  else  could  she  support  it?  By  her  art,  her 
sculpture  ? " 

Bruno  was  still  frightened  to  the  bottom  of  his  soul,  but  he 
continued  to  talk  and  to  laugh  bitterly. 

"  She's  deceiving  you,  sir.  Isn't  it  as  plain  as  daylight  ? 
You  hit  her  hard,  and  old  Vampire  too,  in  your  speech  on  the 
morning  of  the  Pope's  Jubilee,  and  she's  paying  you  out  for 
both  of  them." 

"  That's  enough,  Bruno." 

"  All  Rome  knows  it,  and  everybody  will  be  laughing  at  you 
soon." 

"  You've  said  enough,  I  tell  you.     Go  to  bed." 
"  Oh,  I  know !     The  heart  has  its  reasons,  but  it  listens  to 
none." 

"  Go  to  bed,  I  tell  you !  "  cried  David  Rossi,  and  then  Bruno 
was  silent,  for  he  knew  that  Rossi  was  angry  in  earnest  at 
last. 

"  Isn't  it  sufficient  that  by  your  tittle-tattle  you  caused  me 
to  wrong  the  lady  ?  " 
"/did?" 
"  You  did." 
"  I  did  not." 

"  You  did,  and  if  it  hadn't  been  for  the  tales  you  told  me 
before  I  knew  her,  or  had  even  seen  her,  I  should  never  have 
spoken  of  her  as  I  did." 

"  She  deserved  all  you  said  of  her." 

"  She  didn't  deserve  one  word  of  it,  and  it  was  your  lies  that 
made  me  slander  her." 

Bruno's  eyes  flinched  as  if  a  blow  had  fallen  on  them.  Then 
he  tried  to  laugh. 

"  Hit  me  again !    The  skin  of  the  ass  is  used  to  blows.    Only 
don't  go  too  far  with  me,  David  Rossi." 
13 


170  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Then  don't  you  go  too  far  with  your  falsehoods  and  siis- 
picion." 

"  Suspicion !  Holy  Virgin !  Is  it  suspicion  that  she  has 
had  you  at  her  studio  to  make  a  Roman  holiday  for  her  friends 
and  cronies  ?     By  the  saints !     Suspicion !  " 

And  Bruno,  losing  himself,  laughed  until  the  room  rang. 

"  Go  on,  if  it  becomes  you." 

"  If  what  becomes  me  ?  " 

"  To  cat  her  bread  and  talk  against  her." 

"  That's  a  lie,  David  Kossi,  and  you  know  it.  It's  my  own 
bread  I'm  eating.  ]\Iy  labour  belongs  to  me,  and  I  sell  it  to 
my  employer.  But  my  conscience  belongs  to  God  and  she 
cannot  buy  it." 

David  Rossi's  white  and  angry  face  broke  up  like  a  snow- 
flake  in  the  sim. 

"  I  was  wrong  when  I  said  that,  Bruno,  and  I  ask  your 
pardon." 

The  fierce  light  in  Bruno's  eyes  was  gone  in  a  moment. 

"  Do  you  say  that,  sir  ?  And  after  I've  insulted 
you?" 

David  Rossi  held  out  his  hand,  and  Bruno  clasped  it. 

"  I  had  no  right  to  be  angry  with  you,  Bruno,  but  you  are 
wrong  about  Donna  Roma.  Believe  me,  dear  friend,  cruelly, 
awfully,  terribly  wrong." 

"  You  think  she  is  a  good  woman." 

"  I  know  she  is,  and  if  I  said  otherwise,  I  take  it  back  and 
am  ashamed." 

"  Beautiful !  If  I  could  only  believe  in  her  as  you  do,  sir. 
But  I've  known  her  for  two  years." 

"  And  I've  known  her  for  twenty." 

Bruno's  face  expressed  astonishment. 

"  Shall  I  tell  you  who  she  is  ?  She  is  the  daughter  of  my 
old  friend  in  England." 

"  The  one  who  died  in  Elba?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  The  good  man  who  found  you  and  fed  you,  and  educated 
you  when  you  were  a  boy  in  London  ? " 

"  That  was  the  father  of  Donna  Roma." 

Then  he  was  Prince  Volonna,  after  all  ?  " 

"  Yes,  and  they  lied  to  me  when  they  told  me  she  was  dead 
and  buried." 

Bruno  was  silent  for  a  moment,  and  then  in  a  choking 
voice  he  said : 


DAVID  ROSSI  171 

"  Why  didn't  you  strike  me  dead  when  I  said  she  was  de- 
ceiving you  ?     Forgive  me,  sir !  " 

"  I  do  forgive  you,  Bruno,  but  not  for  myself — for  her." 

Bruno  turned  away  with  a  dazed  expression. 

As  he  opened  the  door  the  light  fell  on  the  phonograph 
which  rested  on  the  piano  in  the  outer  room,  and  he  pointed  to 
it  and  said: 

"  Was  it  this  that  told  you,  sir  ?  " 

Rossi  bent  his  head. 

"  Was  that  the  message  on  the  cylinder  ?  " 

Again  Rossi  bent  his  head. 

"It  was  my  old  friend's  dying  message,  telling  me  where 
his  daughter  was,  and  what  dangers  surrounded  her,  and  call- 
ing on  me  to  save  and  protect  her." 

Bruno  returned  a  pace  or  two. 

"  Perhaps  that  was  what  took  you  .  .  .  there  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"And  to  carry  out  your  mission,  you  let  the  fools  and 
feather-brains  insult  you  and  laugh  at  you  ? " 

"  Yes." 

The  dog's  eyes  in  Brimo's  bushy  face  began  to  shine  and 
run  over. 

"  Forget  what  I  said  about  going  to  Donna  Roma's,  sir," 

Rossi  sat  down  and  took  up  his  pen. 

"  No,  I  cannot  forget  it,"  he  said.  "  I  ivill  not  forget  it.  I 
will  go  there  no  more." 

"  Then  you  have  carried  out  your  old  friend's  wish,  sir  ? " 

"  God  knows !     Fve  done  ray  best.     Anyhow,  it's  all  over." 

"  You  intend  to  break  off  the  connection  ?  " 

Rossi  did  not  reply. 

"  Why  should  you  if  she  is  your  old  friend's  daughter  ? " 

"  Bruno,  have  you  forgotten  what  I  told  you  the  night  she 
came  here  first,  that  if  ever  I  found  myself  caring  too  much  for 
any  one  I  should  fly  away  from  her  ? " 

"  But  why  ...  if  she's  a  good  woman  ?  " 

"  Do  vou  remember  the  visit  of  Charles  Minghelli  ? " 

"  Yes,  sir." 

"  He  wanted  to  make  his  public  work  a  channel  for  his  per- 
sonal feeling,  and  I  flung  him  out  of  the  house." 

"Well?" 

"  If  I  go  one  step  farther  I  shall  be  in  the  same  case  myself." 

Bruno  was  silent  for  a  moment,  and  then  he  said  in  a  thick 
voice : 


172  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  I  understand !  God  help  you,  David  Rossi.  It's  a  lonely 
road  you  mean  to  travel." 

Rossi  drew  a  long  breath  and  made  ready  to  write, 

"  I  shall  be  present  at  the  meeting  to-morrow,  Bruno. 
Good-night." 

"  Good-night,"  said  Bruno,  and  the  good  fellow  went  out 
with  wet  eyes. 

IT 

The  night  was  far  gone,  and  the  city  lay  still,  while  Rossi 
replied  to  Roma. 

"  My  Dear  R.,— You  have  nothing  to  reproach  yourself  with 
in  regard  to  2ny  poor  doings,  or  tryings-to-do.  They  were 
necessary,  and  if  the  penalties  had  been  worse  a  hundredfold  I 
should  not  chew  the  cud  of  my  bargain  now.  Besides  your 
wish,  I  had  another  motive,  a  secret  motive,  and  perhaps  if  I 
were  a  Catholic,  I  should  confess,  too,  although  not  with  a  view 
to  penance.  Apparently,  it  has  come  out  well,  and  now  that  it 
seems  to  be  all  over,  both  your  scheme  and  mine,  now  that  the 
wrong  I  did  you  is  to  some  extent  undone,  and  my  own  object 
is  in  some  measure  achieved,  I  find  myself  face  to  face  with  a 
position  in  which  it  is  my  duty  to  you  as  well  as  to  myself  to 
bring  our  intercourse  to  an  end. 

"  As  you  say,  my  work  is  waiting  for  me.  I  am  in  hourly 
expectation  of  pressing  public  business,  and  my  time  is  no 
longer  my  own.  But  I  should  not  be  honest,  or  do  justice  to 
my  own  feelings,  if  I  allowed  you  to  believe  that  this  is  the 
only  reason  for  our  separation.  There  is  another  ground  for  it, 
and  I  regret  that  I  cannot  explain  myself  as  frankly  as  I  could 
wish  to  do.  My  correspondence  through  the  post  has  never  at 
any  time  been  safe  from  official  supei-vision,  messages  by  hand 
are  difficult  or  impossible  at  present  because  of  the  doubt  or 
distrust  of  our  servants,  and  therefore,  for  your  sake,  I  dare  not 
be  explicit. 

"  The  truth  is  that  we  cannot  be  friends  any  longer,  for  the 
reason  that  I  love  some  one  in  whom  you  are,  unhappily,  too 
much  interested,  and  because  there  are  obstacles  between  that 
person  and  myself  which  are  decisive  and  insurmountable. 
This  alone  puts  it  on  me  as  a  point  of  honour  that  you  and  I 
should  never  see  each  other  again.  Each  of  my  visits  adds  to 
my  embarrassment,  to  the  feeling  that  I  am  doing  wrong  in 


DAVID  ROSSI  1Y3 

paying  them,  and  to  the  certainty  that  I  must  give  them  up 
altogether. 

"  Thank  you  again  and  again  for  the  more  than  pleasant 
hours  we  have  spent  together.  It  is  not  your  fault  that  I  must 
bury  the  memory  of  them  in  oblivion.  This  does  not  mean  that 
it  is  any  part  of  the  painful  but  unavoidable  result  of  circum- 
stances I  cannot  explain,  that  we  should  not  write  to  each  other 
as  occasion  may  arise.  Continue  to  think  of  me  as  your 
brother — your  brother  far  away — to  be  called  upon  for  counsel 
in  your  hour  of  need  and  necessity.  And  whenever  you  call, 
be  sure  I  shall  be  there. 

"  Meantime,  it  has  not  been  without  reflection  that  I  have 
at  length  compelled  myself  to  say  this,  or  to  resist  the  tempta- 
tion to  go  to  you  at  your  call,  even  now  when  the  first  objects 
of  my  visits  have  been  served. 

"  What  you  say  of  an  important  matter  suggests  that  some- 
thing has  come  to  your  knowledge  which  concerns  myself  and 
the  authorities;  but  when  a  man  has  spent  all  his  life  on  the 
edge  of  a  precipice,  the  most  urgent  perils  are  of  little  moment, 
and  I  beg  of  you  not  to  be  alarmed  for  my  sake.  Whatever  it 
is,  it  is  only  a  part  of  the  atmosphere  of  danger  I  have  always 
lived  in — the  glacier  I  have  always  walked  upon — and  '  if  it  is 
not  now,  it  is  to  come;  if  it  is  not  to  come,  it  will  be  now — the 
readiness  is  all.'  Good-bye!  Heaven  be  over  you! — Yours, 
dear  E ,  D." 

Ill 

During  some  hours  of  next  day  the  sitting-room  of  David' 
Rossi's  apartment  was  in  wild  disorder.  The  old  Garibaldian 
and  his  deaf  wife  were  pushing  the  furniture  into  passages,  and 
Elena  and  little  Joseph  were  bringing  chairs  from  the  bedroom 
and  kitchen.  When  they  had  finished,  there  was  a  table  at  one 
end,  and  a  line  of  mixed  chairs  under  the  portraits  that  hung 
on  the  walls.  The  sitting-room  was  now  ready  for  the  meeting 
of  the  Committee  of  Direction. 

They  came  at  eight  o'clock,  thirty  men  of  many  nationali- 
ties. Strange  figures,  and  as  various  as  strange.  Some  well- 
dressed,  some  ill-dressed,  some  that  looked  like  journalists,  pro- 
fessors, advocates,  and  members  of  Parliament,  and  others  that 
looked  like  tailors  and  locksmiths. 

Bruno  received  them  in  his  shirt-sleeves,  smoking  a  Tus- 
can  cigar,   conscious   of   a    certain   austerity   of   atmosphere 


174  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

among  them,  but  laughing  and  joking  and  trying  to  take  things 
lightly. 

"  Good-evening,  sir !  Cold  to-night,  isn't  it  ?  The  Honour- 
able will  be  here  presently.  Just  received  the  King's  speech, 
and  polishing  it  off  for  the  paper !  Working  like  wildfire,  I  can 
tell  you.  That's  all  right,  you  know.  Who  doesn't  burn  him- 
self can't  expect  to  light  others.  .  .  .  Helloa !  Come  in,  sonny ! 
Where  did  the  cloak  come  from?  Fire  at  a  monastery  some- 
where !  Take  care !  The  habit  doesn't  make  the  monk,  you 
know.  Now,  the  Honourable  never  feels  the  cold.  He  is  in 
there  without  a  fire,  like  a  monk  in  a  cell.  Well,  the  general 
must  do  something  or  the  soldier  wants  to  know  why." 

It  was  a  vain  effort.  The  company  came  in  silently,  almost 
moodily,  looking  at  each  other  and  at  the  portraits  with  a  vague 
and  listless  stare.  For  some  minutes  they  stood  in  the  middle 
of  the  floor  and  there  was  some  suppressed  whispering.  When 
some  one  sneezed  there  was  silence  in  a  moment.  Clearly  the 
air  was  full  of  trouble. 

Bruno's  loud  laugh  had  ceased  to  rock  through  the  room,  he 
had  put  out  his  cigar,  pulled  on  his  cloak,  and  was  beginning  to 
perspire  on  his  forehead,  when  the  door  of  the  bedroom  opened 
and  David  Rossi  came  out. 

The  Deputy  looked  calm  and  self-confident,  and  walking 
into  the  midst  of  the  men  with  a  deliberate  stride,  shook  hands 
with  all  of  them.  They  responded  coldly,  in  some  cases 
haughtily,  and  looked  sour  and  dissatisfied.  One  or  two  of  them 
bit  their  lips  at  him  with  undisguised  severity,  and  others  tried 
to  avoid  his  gaze.  He  took  his  seat  at  the  head  of  the  table 
and  called  on  them  to  take  their  places. 

The  first  business  was  the  reading  of  the  report  of  the  pro- 
ceedings since  the  previous  meeting.  The  secretary  was  Luigi 
Conti,  the  man  who  had  read  the  proclamation  on  the  day  of 
the  Pope's  Jubilee.  He  was  a  short,  stiff-set  man,  with  a  chol- 
eric face,  a  thick  neck,  and  a  shrill  voice.  His  minutes  were 
few  and  brief.  The  "  Creed  and  Charter  "  as  drawn  up  by  the 
President  had  been  adopted  by  the  Committee  of  Direction, 
and  copies  had  been  sent  out  broadcast.  The  response  from  all 
over  Europe  had  been  great,  and  the  subscriptions  had  gone  up 
tenfold. 

"  That's  all  there  is  to  report,"  said  Luigi,  closing  his  book 
with  a  noisy  clasp.  "  And  now,"  he  said  in  a  tone  of  antago- 
nism, "  the  Committee  is  wai+in<r  for  information  and  direc- 
tion.   The  President  is  the  official  head  of  our  democracy,  and 


DAVID  ROSSI  175 

we  look  to  him  for  guidance.  Ou  the  day  we  started  our  asso- 
ciation we  were  told  that  the  Republic  of  Man  was  to  be  a 
reality,  not  a  dream,  watching  parliaments,  discussing  meas- 
ures, taking  up  the  defence  of  innocent  prisoners,  demanding 
justice  for  the  oppressed,  and  legislation  for  the  weak  and 
downtrodden.  That  was  a  month  ago,  and  meanwhile  we 
have  done  nothing.  Perhaps  the  President  will  tell  us 
why." 

The  secretaiy  wagged  his  head  over  his  thick  neck,  and 
sat  down  amid  murmurs  of  approval.  David  Rossi  rose  in 
silence. 

"  Gentlemen,"  he  said,  "  before  we  go  any  further  it  seems 
necessary  to  clear  the  ground.  The  report  says  that  our  Creed 
and  Charter  has  had  a  response  all  over  Europe,  and  the  sub- 
scriptions to  our  international  association  have  gone  up  ten- 
fold. Let  us  be  sure  that  no  part  of  this  result  has  been  due  to 
a  misconception  of  our  motives.  I  should  not  feel  myself  to  be 
an  honest  man  if  I  used  any  one's  name  or  any  one's  money 
while  there  is  the  least  possibility  of  error.  So  I  have  written 
something  that  there  may  be  no  uncertaintj-,  and  I  shall  print 
it  that  there  may  be  no  mistake." 

With  that,  he  took  out  his  oblong  note-book,  and,  amidst  a 
watchful  silence,  began  to  read. 

"  What  our  Creed  and  Charter  does  not  imply. 

"  It  does  not  imply  that  the  whole  structure  of  existing 
society  is  wrong  and  wicked. 

"  It  does  not  imply  that  by  violence  of  any  kind  we  must 
abolish  kings,  armies,  national  barriers,  individual  ownership 
in  land  and  individual  control  of  wealth. 

"  It  does  not  imply  that  we  should  reduce  the  world  to  a 
condition  in  which  it  would  be  without  towns,  books,  news- 
papers, universities,   armies,   and  governments. 

"  It  does  not  imply  that  we  may  remedy  moral  evils  by 
carrying  civilisation  back  to  barbarism. 

"  It  does  not  imply  that  the  whole  life  of  the  world  has  been 
wrong  and  false  for  six  thousand  yeai-s. 

"  It  does  not  imply  that  during  all  this  time  there  has  been 
no  God  governing  the  world  to  good  ends." 

The  watchful  silence  was  broken  by  some  murmurs  of  dis- 
sent, and  Rossi  raised  his  head  from  his  note-book. 

"  It  was  necessary  to  say  so  much  for  the  benefit  of  our 
friends,"  he  said,  "  seeing  that  some  of  them  seem  to  have 
supposed  that  we  intended  to  create  a  new  heaven  and  a  new 


176  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

earth.  And  now  let  us  say  something  for  the  benefit  of  our 
enemies." 

With  that  he  turned  to  the  note-book  again,  and  the  silence 
became  icy. 

"  What  our  Charter  does  imply. 

"  It  does  imply  that  there  is  a  God  who  rules  the  world  in 
justice. 

"  That  natural  law  is  unceasingly  bringing  order  out  of 
chaos,  harmony  out  of  discord,  unity  out  of  division,  and 
peace  out  of  strife. 

"  That  everything  that  has  befallen  the  world  has  been  made 
to  contribute  to  its  ultimate  good. 

"  That  in  due  course,  under  the  operation  of  natural  law, 
many  of  the  remaining  evils  will  be  wiped  out. 

"  That  national  barriei*s  will  be  broken  down. 

"  That  Avar  will  become  impracticable. 

"  That  individual  ownership  of  the  soil  of  the  earth  will 
become  impossible. 

"  That  individual  control  of  capital  will  become  unprofit- 
able. 

"  That  arrogated  authority  will  end. 

"  That  kings  will  cease  to  exist. 

"  That  men  will  live  like  brothers  without  distinction  of 
race  or  nationality. 

"  That  all  men  will  have  daily  bread. 

"  And  that  this  will  come  to  pass  in  the  near  or  the  dis- 
tant future  in  obedience  to  natural  law,  because  it  is  God's 
will,  God's  justice;  because  God  is  good,  because  God  is 
love." 

Again  the  silence  was  broken  by  murmurs  of  dissent,  and 
once  more  Rossi  raised  his  head. 

"  It  was  necessary  to  say  so  much  for  the  benefit  of  our 
enemies,  gentlemen,"  he  said,  "  that  they  may  see  that  it  is  not 
revolution  but  evolution  we  look  to  as  a  means  by  which  all 
things  are  to  work  out  well.  And  if  they  say  that  then  our 
association  is  only  a  dream,  an  idea,  we  will  show  them  that  it 
has  its  practical  side  as  well." 

So  saying,  he  turned  to  his  note-book  and  read  a  third  time. 

"  How  can  we  help  on  the  principles  of  our  Creed  and 
Charter? 

"  By  praying  the  Lord's  Prayer. 

"  By  protesting  when  its  principles  are  violated. 

"  By  protesting  against  all  war. 


DAVID   ROSSI  177 

"  By  protesting  in  whatsoever  way  is  possible  against  being 
compelled  to  take  up  arms  as  a  soldier. 

"By  protesting  against  oaths  of  allegiance  to  kings  and 
princes. 

"By  protesting  against  all  laws  which  give  individual 
ownership  in  the  land  which  belongs  to  all. 

"And  by  suffering  for  such  protests  when  called  upon  to 
do  so." 

The  murmurs  of  dissent  were  now  louder  than  before,  but 
Rossi  continued  to  ignore  them. 

"  That  is  the  meaning  of  our  Creed  and  Charter,  gentle- 
men," he  said,  in  a  calm  but  firm  voice,  "  and  it  was  necessary 
to  say  so,  in  order  that  friends  and  enemies  alike  may  know  that 
it  is  a  democracy  we  aim  at,  not  a  demonarchy — an  arcadia,  if 
you  will,  but  not  an  anarchy.  And  if  they  ask  us  when  our 
Republic  of  Man  is  to  come  to  practical  results,  we  say  when 
the  world  is  ready  for  it,  until  first  here  and  then  there,  as  this 
or  that  country  is  ripe  for  it,  it  will  govern  the  powers  that 
govern  the  world." 

At  this  there  were  shouts  of  "  Oh "  and  some  derisive 
laughter,  but  Rossi  went  on  with  imperturbable  serenity. 

"  In  that  grand  result,  gentlemen,"  he  said,  "  Rome  has  a 
place  assigned  to  her.  She  is  the  Eternal  City.  Her  immor- 
tality is  a  mystery.  Other  cities  decay  and  die  down  when  their 
work  is  done.  Rome  alone  remains  through  all  ages  and  civili- 
sations. Once  she  was  the  capital  of  a  Pagan  Republic.  The 
Republic  fell,  and  she  became  the  capital  of  an  Empire.  The 
Empire  fell,  and  she  became  the  capital  of  Christendom.  Xow 
she  is  the  capital  of  Italy,  a  passing  phase.  Her  destiny  is  to 
be  the  capital  of  the  world's  great  congress — the  court  of  the 
Republic  of  Man." 

David  Rossi  had  hardly  sat  down,  when  half  a  dozen  of  the 
Committee  rose  to  their  feet. 

"  Luigi  has  the  word,"  said  Rossi,  and  with  a  white  and 
twitching  face  the  secretary  began  to  speak. 

"  We  know  now  why  we  have  done  nothing  during  the  last 
month,"  he  said.  "  It  is  because,  according  to  the  view  of  our 
President,  there  is  nothing  to  do.  Since  our  last  meeting  he 
has  whittled  away  our  object  until  it  has  no  practical  force  and 
value.  Then  we  were  told  that  when  a  government  is  destruc- 
tive of  the  natural  rights  of  men  it  is  man's  duty  to  destroy 
it.  Now  we  are  t(fld  that  natural  law  does  everything.  If  that  is 
so,  what  are  we  here  for?    What  is  the  use  of  our  association? 


1Y8  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

Why  do  we  grumble  at  the  bread-tax?  And  what  is  the  good 
of  holding  the  meeting  in  the  Coliseum?  But,  if  it  isn't  so, 
why  is  our  President  cutting  our  legs  from  under  us,  and  whit- 
tling our  objects  away?" 

"  Why  ?  "  said  another  speaker.  "  Isn't  it  clear  enough 
why  ?  Because  he  is  trying  to  run  with  the  hare  and  hunt  with 
the  hounds.  Because  he  is  trying  to  make  the  interests  of  the 
people  agree  with  the  interests  of  their  devourers.  Time  was 
when  nobody  saw  so  clearly  the  corruptions  of  government  and 
the  iniquities  of  our  social  state.  But  society  has  got  hold  of 
him,  new  friends  have  intervened,  he  has  sold  his  inheritance 
for  a  mess  of  pottage,  and  great  houses  and  great  people,  and 
theatres  and  fox-hunts,  and  liveries  of  scarlet  and  gold  have 
bought  him  body  and  soul." 

"  Let  us  be  calm,"  said  a  third  speaker — his  own  voice 
quivered  and  broke.  Ilis  name  was  Malatesta,  a  member  of 
Parliament,  and  a  follower  of  David  Rossi  on  the  Left.  "  What 
have  we  lost  by  this  month  in  which  we  have  done  nothing? 
The  King's  speech  to-morrow  will  suggest  a  bill  for  the  control 
of  the  press,  the  right  of  association,  and  the  right  of  public 
meeting.  After  the  great  response  to  our  Creed  and  Charter 
we  might  have  expected  as  much,  and  in  a  month  we  might 
have  been  prepared  for  it.  We  are  not  prepared,  and  what  is 
the  consequence?  The  country  is  in  the  hands  of  the  Govern- 
ment, and,  thanks  to  the  procrastination  of  our  President,  the 
Prime  Minister  may  do  as  he  pleases." 

"  Procrastination !  "  said  a  shrill  voice.  It  was  Luigi  again. 
His  choleric  face  was  white  with  passion.  "  Why  shouldn't  we 
speak  plainly  ?  I  tell  you  what  it  is — the  opportune  moment  is 
being  lost  because  our  leader  is  afraid  to  act.  And  why  is  he 
afraid  to  act?  Because  he  is  an  honest  man,  and  will  not  use 
any  one's  name  or  any  one's  money  while  there  is  any  doubt 
about  his  object  ?  Bah  !  Shall  I  tell  you  why  ?  Because  he  is 
in  the  hands  of  a  woman !  And  who  is  this  woman?  The  very 
woman  ho  hold  up  to  scorn  a  month  ago  as  the  acid  that  was 
corrupting  the  public  powers — the  mistress  of  the  Prime  Min- 
ister !  Ah !  the  truth  is  out  at  last,  is  it  ?  Very  well ;  take  it, 
put  it  in  your  pipe  and  smoke  it !  " 

The  contagion  of  passion  had  infected  everybody,  and  by 
this  time  the  room  was  in  a  tumult.  Men  were  shuffling  to 
their  feet.  Bruno,  who  had  been  standing  by  the  door,  was 
getting  round  to  the  side  of  the  table.  Lui^  was  lashing  up 
his  anger  with  continued  protests. 


DAVID   ROSSI  179 

"  Oh,  he  can't  frighten  me !  I've  told  him  the  truth,  and 
he  knows  it." 

David  Rossi  rose  at  last.  He  was  the  only  man  in  the 
room  who  had  control  of  himself. 

"  Brothers,"  he  said  in  measured  accents,  "  when  a  man  has 
undertaken  a  work  for  humanity,  he  must  be  prepared  to  sink 
his  private  quarrels,  and  I  sink  this  insult  to  myself." 

"  Thought  as  much,"  said  Luigi,  looking  around  and  laugh- 
ing a  shrill  laugh  of  contempt. 

"  But,"  said  Rossi  in  the  same  measured  accents,  "  I  cannot 
allow  this  insult  to  a  good  and  pure  woman." 

Again  Luigi  laughed,  and  some  of  the  others  joined  him. 

"  I  say,"  said  Rossi  in  a  firm  voice,  "  I  cannot  allow  this 
insult  to  a  good  and  pure  woman  to  go  unchallenged,  and 
the  man  who  made  it  must  be  told  that  he  is  a  common  slan- 
derer." 

"Liar!"  cried  Luigi,  and  then  something  unexpected  hap- 
pened. 

Bruno,  after  an  inarticulate  exclamation,  w^as  seen  to  move 
from  the  side  of  the  table,  and  before  any  one  knew  what  had 
happened,  Luigi  was  in  his  arms,  his  legs  were  kicking  in  the 
air,  and  at  the  next  moment  his  little  fat  body  had  fallen  on  the 
floor  with  a  thud. 

Then  there  was  a  general  commotion,  and  in  the  midst  of  it 
David  Rossi's  voice,  thick  with  anger,  ordered  Bruno  out  of  the 
room. 

Bruno  rolled  out  with  his  shaggj-  head  down  and  his  hands 
in  his  trouser  pockets  like  a  schoolboy  who  has  been  whipped, 
while  Rossi,  white  as  a  sheet,  his  breast  heaving  and  his  breath 
coming  quick,  pushed  through  to  where  Luigi  lay  and  picked 
him  up. 

"  I'm  ashamed,"  he  said.  "  I  wouldn't  have  had  it  for 
worlds.    He  shall  be  punished." 

"  Leave  him  alone,  sir,"  said  Luigi,  pocketing  a  knife  which 
he  had  drawn  in  his  rage.  "  It  was  my  own  fault.  I  ask  your 
pardon." 

He  was  a  different  man  in  a  moment,  and  some  of  the  others 
came  up  to  Rossi  in  silence  and  offered  him  their  hands. 

"Let  us  adjourn  and  meet  again  when  we  are  more  our- 
selves," said  Rossi.  "  We  should  be  fine  leaders  of  a  new  age 
of  brotherhood  and  peace  if  we  began  by  a  vulgar  brawl.  Go 
home,  and  God  bless  you !  " 

The  men  trooped  out  without  a  word  more  and  Rossi  turned 


180  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

into  his  bedroom.  After  a  few  moments  a  timid  tap  came  to 
the  door. 

"Who's  there?"  he  cried. 

It  was  Elena  with  a  letter. 

"  What's  to  do  with  Bruno  ? "  she  said.  "  He  has  gone  to 
bed,  and  I  can't  get  a  word  out  of  him." 

"  He  did  wrong  and  I  was  compelled  to  reprove  him." 

"  Poor  Bruno !  He  would  lay  down  his  life  for  you,  sir, 
but  he  is  like  a  dog — he'll  bark  at  a  king,  and  when  you  speak 
back  he  is  broken-hearted." 

"  Tell  him  I'm  sorry  and  it's  all  over,"  said  Rossi. 

He  took  up  the  dagger  paper-knife  to  open  the  letter. 

Elena  had  scarcely  left  the  room  when  her  mother  entered 
with  a  tray  on  which  there  was  a  dish  of  smoking  spighetti. 

"  You've  eaten  no  dinner  to-day,  my  son,  and  I've  brought 
you  this  for  your  supper.  Come,  now,  put  your  books  and 
letters  out  of  your  head  and  get  something  on  your  stomach. 
Do  you  think  that  books  can  feed  you?  People  say  they  can, 
but  it's  all  nonsense.  Take  a  book  on  an  empty  inside  and 
after  you've  held  it  up  for  tv»'o  hours  tell  me  if  you  have  eaten 
enough.  Books  are  not  things  for  a  Christian.  Put  them 
tiway,  my  son.  .  .  .  Xot  hungry,  you  say  ?  Tell  you  what  it 
is,  you  want  a  wife  to  manage  you.  If  I  was  only  a  bit  younger, 
I  would  marry  you  myself,  and  bring  you  to  your  senses.  Come, 
now,  son,  for  charity's  sake,  some  of  these  good  spighetti.  .  .  . 
Thats'  right!    Buona  sera!" 


IV 

The  letter  was  from  Roma. 

"  My  dear  D., — Your  letter  has  thrown  me  into  the  wild- 
est state  of  excitement  and  confusion.  I  have  done  no  work 
all  day  long,  and  when  Black  has  leapt  upon  me  and  cried, 
'  Come  out  for  a  walk,  you  dear,  dear  dunce,'  I  have  hardly 
known  whether  he  barked  or  talked. 

"  I  am  sorry  our  charming  intercourse  is  to  be  interrupted, 
but  you  can't  mean  that  it  is  to  be  broken  off  altogether.  You 
can't,  you  cant,  or  my  eyes  would  be  red  with  crying,  instead  of 
dancing  with  delight. 

"  Yet  why  they  should  dance  I  don't  really  know,  seeing 
you  are  so  indefinite,  and  T  have  no  right  to  understand  any- 


DAVID   ROSSI  181 

thing.  If  you  cannot  write  by  post,  or  even  send  messages  by 
hand,  if  my  man  F.  is  your  enemy,  and  your  housemate  B.  is 
mine,  isn't  that  precisely  the  best  reason  why  you  should  come 
and  talk  matters  over^  Come  at  once.  I  bid  you  come!  In  a 
matter  of  such  inconceivable  importance,  surely  a  sister  has  a 
right  to  command. 

"  In  that  character,  I  suppose,  I  ought  to  be  glad  of  the 
news  you  give  me.  Well,  I  am  glad !  But  being  a  daughter  of 
Eve,  I  have  a  right  to  be  curious.  I  want  to  ask  questions. 
You  say  I  know  the  lady,  and  am,  unhappily,  too  deeply 
interested  in  her — who  is  she?  Does  she  know  of  your  love 
for  her  ?  Is  she  beautiful  ?  Is  she  charming  ?  Give  me  one 
initial  of  her  name — only  one — and  I  will  be  good.  I  am  so 
much  in  the  dark,  and  I  cannot  commit  myself  until  I  know 
more. 

"  You  speak  of  obstacles,  and  say  they  are  decisive  and 
insurmountable.  That's  terrible,  but  perhaps  you  are  only 
thinking  of  what  the  poets  call  the  '  cruel  madness '  of  love,  as 
if  its  madness  and  cruelty  were  sufficient  reason  for  flying  away 
from  it.  Or  perhaps  the  obstacles  are  those  of  circumstances; 
but  in  that  case,  if  the  woman  is  the  right  one,  she  will  be 
willing  to  wait  for  such  difficulties  to  be  got  over,  or  even  to 
find  her  happiness  in  sharing  them.  Or  perhaps — fearful 
thought — there  are  two  women  in  question,  and  while  love  draws 
one  way,  duty  draws  another.  In  that  event,  I  beg  of  you  to  * 
weigh  well  what  you  are  doing.  Duty  is  a  terrible  tyrant,  and 
has  wrecked  more  lives  than  love  itself. 

"  See  how  I  plead  for  my  unknown  sister !  Which  is  sweet 
of  me,  considering  that  you  don't  tell  me  who  she  is,  but  leave 
me  to  find  out  if  she  is  likely  to  suit  me.  But  why  not  let  me 
help  you?     Come  at  once  and  talk  things  over. 

"  Yet  how  vain  I  am !  Even  while  I  proffer  assistance  with 
so  loud  a  voice,  I  am  smitten  cold  with  the  fear  of  an  impedi- 
ment which  you  know  a  thousand  times  better  than  I  do  how  to 
measure  and  to  meet.  Perhaps  the  woman  you  speak  of  is 
unworthy  of  your  friendship  and  love.  I  can  understand  that 
to  be  an  insurmountable  obstacle.  You  stand  so  high,  and  have 
to  think  about  your  work,  your  aims,  your  people.  And  per- 
haps it  is  only  a  dream  and  a  delusion,  a  mirage  of  the  heart, 
that  love  lifts  a  woman  up  to  the  level  of  the  man  who  loves 
her. 

"  Then  there  may  be  some  fault — some  grave  fault.  I  can 
understand  that  too.    We  do  not  love  because  we  should,  but 


182  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

because  we  must,  and  there  is  nothing  so  cruel  as  the  inequality 
of  man  and  woman  in  the  way  the  world  regards  their  con- 
duct. But  I  am  like  a  bat  in  the  dark,  flying  at  gleams  of  light 
from  closely-curtained  M'indows.  Will  you  not  confide  in  me? 
Do!    Do!    Do! 

"  Besides,  I  have  the  other  matter  to  talk  about.  You  re- 
member telling  me  how  you  kicked  out  the  man  M ?    He 

turned  spy  as  the  consequence,  and  has  been  sent  to  England. 
You  ought  to  know  that  he  has  been  making  inquiries  about 
you,  and  appears  to  have  found  out  various  particulars.  Any 
day  may  bring  urgent  news  of  him,  and  if  you  will  not  come  to 
me  I  may  have  to  go  to  you  in  spite  of  every  protest. 

"  To-morrow  is  the  day  for  your  opening  of  Parliament  and 
I  have  a  ticket  for  the  Court  tribune,  so  you  may  expect  to  see 
me  floating  somewhere  above  you  in  an  atmosphere  of  lace  and 
perfume.     Good-night ! — Your  poor  bewildered  sister, 

"  Roma." 

V 

Next  morning  David  Eossi  put  on  evening-dress,  in  obedi- 
ence to  the  etiquette  of  the  opening  day  of  Parliament.  Before 
going  to  the  ceremony  he  answered  Roma's  letter  of  the  night 
before. 

"  Dear  R., — If  anything  could  add  to  the  bitterness  of  my 
regret  at  ending  an  intercourse  which  has  brought  me  the  hap- 
piest moments  of  my  life,  it  would  be  the  tone  of  your  sweet 
and  charming  letter.  You  ask  me  if  the  woman  I  love  is 
beautiful.  She  is  more  than  beautiful,  she  is  lovely.  Her  soul 
shines  in  her  face,  and  it  is  pure  and  true  and  noble. 

"  You  ask  me  if  she  knows  that  I  love  her.  I  have  never 
dared  to  disclose  the  secret  of  my  heart  to  her,  and  if  I  could 
have  believed  that  she  had  ever  so  much  as  guessed  at  it,  I 
should  have  found  some  consolation  in  a  feeling  which  is  too 
deep  for  the  humiliations  of  pride.  You  ask  me  if  she  is 
worthy  of  my  friendship  and  love.  She  is  worthy  of  the  love 
and  friendship  of  a  better  man  than  I  am  or  can  ever  hope  to  be. 

"  Yet  even  if  she  were  not  so,  even  if  there  were,  as  you  say, 
a  fault  in  her,  who  am  I  that  I  should  judge  her  harshly  ?  I  am 
not  one  of  those  who  think  that  a  woman  is  fallen  because  cir- 
cumstances and  evil  men  have  conspired  against  her.  I  reject 
the  monstrous  theory  that  while  a  man  may  redeem  the  past,  a 


DAVID   ROSSI  183 

woman  never  can.  I  abhor  the  judgment  of  the  world  by  which 
a  woman  may  be  punished  because  she  is  trying  to  be  pure,  and 
dragged  down  because  she  is  rising  from  the  dirt.  And  if  she 
had  sinned  as  I  have  sinned,  and  suifered  as  I  have  suffered,  I 
would  pray  for  strength  enough  to  say,  '  Because  I  love  her 
we  are  one,  and  we  stand  or  fall  together.' 

"  But  she  is  sweet,  and  pure,  and  true,  and  brave,  and  noble- 
hearted,  and  there  is  no  fault  in  her,  or  she  would  not  be  the 
daughter  of  her  father,  who  was  the  noblest  man  I  ever  knew  or 
ever  expect  to  know.  Xo,  the  root  of  the  separation  is  in  my- 
self, in  myself  only,  in  my  circvmistances  and  the  personal  situa- 
tion I  find  myself  in. 

"  And  yet  it  is  difficult  for  me  to  state  the  obstacle  which 
divides  us,  or  to  say  more  about  it  than  that  it  is  permanent 
and  insurmountable.  I  should  deceive  myself  if  I  tried  to  be- 
lieve that  time  would  remove  or  lessen  it,  and  I  have  contended 
in  vain  with  feelings  which  have  tempted  me  to  hold  on  at  any 
price  to  the  only  joy  and  happiness  of  my  life. 

"  To  go  to  her  and  open  my  heai-t  is  impossible,  for  personal 
intercourse  is  precisely  the  peril  I  am  trying  to  avoid.  How 
weak  I  am  in  her  company!  Even  when  her  dress  touches  me 
at  passing,  I  am  thrilled  with  an  emotion  I  cannot  master; 
and  when  she  lifts  her  large  bright  eyes  to  mine,  I  am  the  slave 
of  a  passion  which  conquers  all  my  will. 

"  No,  it  is  not  lightly  and  without  cause  that  I  have  taken 
a  step  which  sacrifices  love  to  duty.  I  love  her,  with  all  my 
heart  and  soul  and  strength  I  love  her,  and  that  is  why  she  and 
I,  for  her  sake  more  than  mine,  should  never  meet  again. 

"  I  note  what  you  say  about  the  man  M ,  but  you  must 

forgive  me  if  I  cannot  be  much  concerned  about  it.  There  is 
nobody  in  London  who  knows  me  in  the  character  I  now  bear, 
and  can  link  it  to  the  one  you  are  thinking  of.  Good-bye, 
again !    God  be  with  you  and  keep  you  always !  D." 

Having  written  this  letter,  David  Eossi  sealed  it  carefully 
and  posted  it  with  his  own  hand  on  his  way  to  the  opening  of 
Parliament. 

Yl 

The  day  was  fine,  and  the  city  was  bright  with  many  flags  in 
honour  of  the  King.  His  visit  was  to  the  Hall  of  the  Deputies, 
as  the  larger  and  more  convenient  of  the  two  legislative  cham- 


184  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

bers.  .  All  the  streets  leading- to  it  from  the  royal  palace  were 
lined  with  people.  The  square  in  front  of  the  Parliament 
House  was  kept  clear  by  a  cordon  of  Carabineers,  but  the  open 
windows  of  the  hotels  and  houses  round  about  were  filled  with 
faces. 

A  military  band  was  drawn  up  by  the  portico,  ready  to  re- 
ceive the  signal  as  the  King  approached,  and  royal  guards  in 
glistening  helmets  stood  waiting  at  the  door.  A  way  was  kept 
for  carriages  to  draw  up  and  discharge  their  occupants,  and 
reporters  with  note-books  in  hand  were  jotting  down  the  names 
of  distinguished  persons  as  they  arrived.  Deputies  on  foot 
were  sometimes  recognised  by  the  public  in  the  outer  square 
and  streets,  and  greeted  with  slight  cheering. 

Coming  from  the  direction  opposite  to  the  palace,  David 
Rossi  had  encountered  no  crowds  until  he  reached  the  piazza. 
Then  he  entered*  the  house  unobserved  by  the  little  private  door 
for  dej)uties  in  the  side  street.  The  chamber  was  already 
thronged,  and  as  full  of  movement  as  a  hive  of  bees.  Ladies  in 
light  dresses,  soldiers  in  uniform,  diplomatists  wearing  decora- 
tions, senators  and  deputies  in  white  cravats  and  gloves,  were 
moving  to  their  places  and  saluting  each  other  with  bows  and 
smiles. 

.  It  was  a  semicircular  chamber  with  formal  rows  of  stalls 
round  its  curved  side,  upholstered  in  red  velvet.  On  its  straight 
side  there  was  a  broad  platform,  on  which  stood  a  large 
gilded  arm-chair  under  a  baldacchino,  also  of  red  velvet,  with 
the  cross  of  the  reigning  House  embroidered  on  it  in  gold.  A 
gallery  for  reporters  and  for  the  undistinguished  public  ran 
round  the  upper  part  of  the  walls,  and  the  roof  was  a  dome 
of  glass. 

David  Rossi  slipped  into  the  place  he  usually  occupied 
among  the  deputies.  It  was  the  corner  seat  by  the  door  on  the 
left  of  the  royal  canopy,  immediately  facing  the  section  which 
had  been  apportioned  to  the  Court  tribune.  He  did  not  lift 
his  eyes  as  he  entered,  but  he  was  conscious  of  a  tall,  well- 
rounded  yet  girlish  figure  in  a  grey  dress  that  glistened  in  a 
ray  of  sunshine,  with  dark  hair  under  a  large  black  hat,  and 
flashing  eyes  that  seemed  to  pierce  into  his  own  like  a  shaft 
of  light. 

Beautiful  ladies  with  big  oriental  eyes  were  about  her,  and 
young  deputies  were  using  their  opera-glasses  upon  them  with 
undisguised  curiosity.  There  was  much  gossip,  some  laughter, 
and  a  good  deal  of  gesticulation.     The  atmosphere  was  one  of 


DAVID  ROSSI  185 

light  spirits,  approaching  gaiety,  the  atmosphere  of  the  theatre 
or  the  balh-oom. 

The  clock  over  the  reporters'  gallery  showed  seven  minutes 
after  the  hour  appointed,  when  the  walls  of  the  chamber  shook 
with  the  vibration  of  a  cannon-shot.  It  was  a  gun  fired  at  the 
Castle  of  St.  Angelo  to  announce  the  King's  arrival.  At  the 
same  moment  there  came  the  muffled  strains  of  the  royal  hymn 
played  by  the  band  in  the  piazza.  The  little  gales  of  gossip 
died  down  in  an  instant,  and  in  dead  silence  the  assembly  rose 
to  its  feet. 

A  minute  afterwards  the  King  entered  amid  a  fanfare  of 
trumpets,  the  shouts  of  many  voices,  and  the  clapping  of  hands. 
He  was  a  young  man,  in  the  uniform  of  a  general,  with  a  face 
that  was  drawn  into  deep  lines  under  the  eyes  by  ill-health  and 
anxiety.  Two  soldiers,  carrying  their  brass  helmets  with  wav- 
ing plumes,  walked  by  his  side,  and  a  line  of  his  Ministers  fol- 
lowed. His  queen,  a  tall  and  beautiful  girl,  came  behind,  sur- 
rounded by  many  ladies. 

The  King  took  his  seat  under  the  baldacchino,  with  his 
Ministers  on  his  left.  The  Queen  sat  on  his  right  hand,  with 
her  ladies  beside  her.  They  bowed  to  the  plaudits  of  the  assem- 
bly, and  the  drawn  face  of  the  young  King  wore  a  painful 
smile. 

The  Baron  Bonelli,  in  court  dress  and  decorations,  stood  at 
the  King's  elbow,  calm,  dignified,  self-possessed — the  one  strong 
face  and  figure  in  the  group  tinder  the  canopy.  After  the 
cheering  and  the  shouting  had  subsided  he  requested  the  assem- 
bly, at  the  command  of  His  Majesty,  to  resume  their  seats. 
Then  he  handed  a  paper  to  the  King. 

It  was  the  King's'  speech  to  his  Parliament,  and  he  read  it 
nervously  in  a  voice  that  had  not  learned  to  control  itself.  But 
the  speech  was  sufficiently  emphatic,  and  its  words  were  gran- 
diose and  even  florid. 

It  consisted  of  four  clauses.  In  the  first  clause  the  King 
thanked  God  that  his  country  was  on  terms  of  amity  with  all 
foreign  countries,  and  invoked  God's  help  in  the  preservation 
of  peace.  The  second  clause  was  about  the  increase  of  the 
army. 

"  The  army,"  said  the  King,  "  is  very  dear  to  me,  as  it  has 
always  been  dear  to  my  family.  My  illustrious  grandfather, 
who  granted  freedom  to  the  kingdom,  was  a  soldier;  my 
honoured  father  was  a  soldier,  and  it  is  my  pride  that  I  am 
myself  a  soldier  also.  The  army  was  the  foundation  of  our 
13 


186  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

liberty  and  it  is  now  the  security  of  our  rights.  On  the  strength 
and  stability  of  the  army  rest  the  power  of  our  nation  abroad 
and  the  authority  of  our  institutions  at  home.  It  is  my  firm 
resolve  to  maintain  the  army  in  the  future  as  my  illustrious 
ancestors  have  maintained  it  in  the  past,  and  therefore  my 
Government  will  propose  a  bill  which  is  intended  to  increase 
still  further  its  numbers  and  its  efficiency." 

This  was  received  with  a  great  outburst  of  applause  and  the 
waving  of  many  handkerchiefs.  It  was  observed  that  some  of 
the  ladies  shed  tears. 

The  third  clause  was  about  the  growth  and  spread  of  an- 
archism. 

"  My  house,"  said  the  King,  "  gave  liberty  to  the  nation, 
and  now  it  is  my  duty  and  my  hope  to  give  security  and 
strength.  It  is  known  to  Parliament  that  certain  subversive 
elements,  not  in  Italy  alone,  but  throughout  Europe,  throughout 
the  world,  have  been  using  the  most  devilish  machinations  for 
the  destruction  of  all  order,  human  and  divine.  Cold  calculat- 
ing criminals  have  pei"petrated  crimes  against  the  most  inno- 
cent and  the  most  highly  placed,  which  have  sent  a  thrill  of 
horror  into  all  humane  hearts.  My  Government  asks  for  an 
absolute  power  over  such  criminals,  and  if  we  are  to  bring 
security  to  the  State,  we  must  reinvigorate  the  authority  to 
which  society  trusts  the  high  mandate  of  protecting  and  gov- 
erning." 

A  still  greater  outburst  of  cheering  interrupted  the  young 
King,  who  raised  his  head  amid  the  shouts,  the  clapping  of 
hands,  and  the  fluttering  of  handkerchiefs,  and  smiled  his 
painful  smile. 

"  More  than  that,"  continued  the  King,  "  I  have  to  deplore 
the  spread  of  associations,  sodalities,  and  clubs,  which,  by  an 
erroneous  conception  of  liberty,  are  disseminating  the  germs  of 
revolt  against  the  State.  Under  the  most  noble  propositions 
about  the  moral  and  economical  redemption  of  the  people,  is 
hidden  a  propaganda  for  the  conquest  of  the  public  powers. 

"  Leaders,  whose  sole  motive  is  blind  envy  of  a  social  state 
superior  to  their  own,  are  diffusing  hate  between  the  classes 
by  inculcating  doctrines  that  cut  at  the  root  of  public  order 
and  threaten  the  existence  of  the  dynasty.  Associations,  which 
have  not  even  asked  the  permission  of  the  authorities,  are  hid- 
ing under  the  cloak  of  religion  and  texts  of  Scripture  their 
true  character,  which  is  political  and  subversive. 

"  My  aim  is  to  gain  the  affection  of  my  people,  and  to 


DAVID   ROSSI  187 

interest  them  in  the  cause  of  order  and  public  security,  and 
therefore  my  Government  will  present  an  urgent  bill,  which  is 
intended  to  stop  the  flowering  of  these  parasitic  organisations, 
by  revising  these  laws  of  the  press  and  of  public  meeting,  in 
whose  defects  agitators  find  opportunity  for  their  attacks  on 
the  doctrines  of  the  State." 

A  prolonged  outbui"st  of  applause  followed  this  passage, 
mingled  with  a  tvmiult  of  tongues,  which  went  on  after  the 
King  had  begun  to  read  again,  rendering  his  last  clause — an 
invocation  of  God's  blessing  on  the  deliberations  of  Parliament 
— almost  inaudible. 

The  end  of  the  speech  was  a  signal  for  further  cheering, 
and  when  the  King  left  the  hall,  bowing  as  nervously  as  before, 
and  smiling  his  painful  smile,  the  shouts  of  "  Long  live  the 
King,"  the  clapping  of  hands,  and  the  waving  of  handkerchiefs 
followed  him  to  the  street.  The  entire  ceremony  had  occupied 
twelve  minutes. 

Then  the  clamour  of  voices  drowned  the  sound  of  the  royal 
hymn  outside.  Deputies  were  climbing  about  to  join  their 
friends  among  the  ladies,  whose  light  laughter  was  to  be  heard 
on  every  side. 

David  Rossi  rose  to  go.  Without  lifting  his  head,  he  had 
been  conscious  that  during  the  latter  part  of  the  King's  speech 
many  eyes  were  fiLxed  upon  him.  Playing  with  his  watch 
chain,  he  had  struggled  to  look  calm  and  impassive.  But  his 
heart  was  sick,  and  he  wished  to  get  away  quickly. 

A  partition,  shielding  the  door  of  the  corridor,  stood  near 
to  his  seat,  and  he  was  trying  to  get  round  it.  He  heard  his 
name  in  the  air  around  him,  mingled  with  significant  trills  and 
unmistakable  accents.  All  at  once  he  was  conscious  of  a  per- 
fume he  knew,  and  of  a  girlish  figure  facing  him. 

"  Good-day,  Honourable,"  said  a  voice  that  thrilled  him  like 
the  strings  of  a  harp  drawn  tight. 

He  lifted  his  head  and  answered.  It  was  Roma.  Her  face 
was  lighted  up  with  a  fire  he  had  never  seen  before.  Only 
one  glance  he  dared  to  take,  but  he  could  see  that  at  the  next 
instant  those  flashing  eyes  would  burst  into  tears. 

The  tide  was  passing  out  by  the  front  doors  where  the  car- 
riages and  the  reporters  waited,  but  Rossi  stepped  round  to 
the  back.  No  one  was  going  that  way,  except  two  or  three  old 
men  of  his  own  party  who  were  grumbling  their  way  down  the 
stairs,  and  one  or  two  young  Deputies  who  were  talking  of 
staking  money  in  the  lottery  on  the  number  of  the  clauses  of 


188  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

the  King's  speech,  the  number  of  minutes  he  had  been  late  in 
arriving,  and  the  number  of  the  day  of  the  month — 4,  7,  and  25. 

David  Rossi  was  on  the  way  to  the  office  of  his  newspaper, 
and  dipping  into  the  Corso  from  a  lane  that  crossed  it,  he  came 
upon  the  King's  carriage  returning  to  the  Quirinal.  It  was 
entirely  surrounded  by  soldiers,  the  military  commander  of 
Rome  on  the  right,  the  commander  of  the  Carabineers  on  the 
left,  and  the  Cuirassiers,  riding  two  deep,  before  and  behind, 
so  that  the  King  and  Queen  were  scarcely  visible  to  the  cheer- 
ing crowd.  Last  in  the  royal  procession  came  an  ordinary  cab 
containing  two  detectives  in  plain  clothes. 

To  David  Rossi  it  was  a  painful  sight.  Miserable  and 
doomed,  whatever  its  flourishes,  was  the  institution  that  had  to 
be  maintained  by  such  a  retinue.  A  throne  broad-based  on  the 
love  of  the  people  might  be  strong  and  right,  but  a  throne  that 
had  to  be  protected  from  their  hate,  or  even  from  the  dagger 
of  the  assassin,  was  weak  and  wrong.  Not  to  be  king  of  all  the 
kingdoms  of  the  earth  should  a  true  man  live  an  abject  life 
such  as  that  procession  gave  hint  of.  The  young  King,  who 
had  just  spoken  as  if  he  were  a  god,  was  being  taken  home  as  if 
he  were  a  prisoner. 

The  office  of  the  Sunrise  was  in  a  narrow  lane  out  of  the 
Corso.  It  was  a  dingy  building  of  three  floors,  with  the  ma- 
chine-rooms on  the  ground-level,  the  composing-rooms  at  the 
top,  and  the  editorial  rooms  between.  David  Rossi's  office  was 
a  large  apartment,  with  three  desks',  that  were  intended  for  the 
editor  and  his  day  and  night  assistants. 

His  day  assistant  received  him  with  many  bows  and  compli- 
ments.    He  was  a  small  man  with  an  insincere  face. 

Rossi  drank  a  cup  of  coffee  and  settled  to  his  work.  It  was 
an  article  on  the  day's  doings,  more  fearless  and  outspoken  than 
he  had  ever  published  before.  Such  a  day  as  they  had  just 
gone  through,  with  the  flying  of  flags  and  the  playing  of  royal 
hymns,  was  not  really  a  day  of  joy  and  rejoicing,  but  of  degra- 
dation and  shame.  If  the  people  had  known  what  they  were 
doing,  they  would  have  hung  their  flags  with  crape  and  played 
funeral  marches. 

The  young  King,  whose  speech  had  been  made  for  him  by  a 
Minister  who  despised  the  people,  and  touched  up  by  some  man 
of  letters  who  was  only  thinking  of  his  flowers  of  rhetoric— the 
King,  who  was  supposed  to  hold  his  sceptre  by  the  will  of  the 
nation — had  done  his  utmost  to  annul  every  authority  of  Par- 
liament and  to  suppress  the  rights  which  were  the  last  asylum 


DAVID  ROSSI  189 

of  the  liberties  of  the  country.  The  new  regulations  which  had 
been  proposed  represented  the  death  of  government  by  the 
people,  and  the  birth  of  government  by  the  police  constable,  as 
standing  for  the  Minister  and  the  throne. 

"  Xo  wonder  the  King  is  a  soldier,"  he  wrote.  "  All  kings 
are  soldiers.  The  uniform  of  the  soldier  is  the  badge  of  the 
positions  they  fill  and  the  rights  they  arrogate.  Who  says  King 
says  soldier,  army,  national  barriers,  the  frontier,  the  sentinel, 
the  custom-house  officer,  everything  that  divides  man  from 
man.  To  divide  man  from  man  is  necessary  to  the  King  in 
order  that  he  may  reign  and  rule. 

"  And  no  wonder  kings  surround  themselves  with  armies. 
Armies  are  the  engines  of  arrogated  power  intended  to  separate 
nation  from  nation  and  to  keep  down  the  rights  of  the  dispos- 
sessed. They  are  the  great  devourers  of  the  world,  the  Jugger- 
nauts of  empires,  and  can  only  end  by  trampling  to  death  the 
powers  that  made  them." 

It  was  the  old  idea  of  government  that  the  King  was  the 
law,  the  authority,  the  State.  To  revert  to  that  theory,  whether 
in  the  name  of  king  or  public  security,  was  to  turn  back  the 
clock  that  marks  the  progress  of  the  world.  Christianity  came 
to  wipe  out  such  ideas  of  government — to  show  that  the  law 
was  the  State,  that  the  State  was  the  expression  of  the  con- 
science of  the  people,  and  the  conscience  of  the  people  the  ex- 
pression of  the  divine.  No  man  could  claim  to  represent  that 
conscience.  In  no  man  was  it  right  to  do  so ;  in  no  man  was 
it  even  sane  and  logical,  except,  perhaps,  the  Pope  of  Rome 
himself. 

"  Such  a  scene  as  we  have  witnessed  to-day,"  he  concluded, 
"  like  all  such  scenes  throughout  the  world,  whether  in  Ger- 
many, Russia,  and  England,  or  in  China,  Persia,  and  the  dark- 
est regions  of  Africa,  is  but  proof  of  the  melancholy  fact  that 
while  man,  as  the  individual,  has  been  nineteen  hundred  years 
converted  to  Christianity,  man,  as  the  nation,  remains  to  this 
day,  for  the  most  part  utterly  Pagan." 

The  assistant  editor,  who  had  glanced  over  the  pages  of 
manuscript  as  Rossi  threw  them  aside,  looked  up  at  last  and 
said: 

"  Are  you  sure,  sir,  that  you  wish  to  print  this  article? " 
"  Quite  sure." 

The  man  made  a  shrug  of  his  shoulders,  and  took  the  copy 
upstairs. 

The  short  day  had  closed  in  when  Rossi  was  returning  home. 


190  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

Screamers  in  the  streets  were  crying  early  editions  of  the  even- 
ing papers,  and  the  cafes  in  the  Corso  were  full  of  officers  and 
civilians,  sipping  vermouth  and  reading  glowing  accounts  of 
the  King's  enthusiastic  reception.  Pitiful !  Most  pitiful !  And 
the  man  who  dared  to  tell  the  truth  must  be  prepared  for  any 
consequences. 

David  Rossi  told  himself  that  he  was  prepared.  Henceforth 
he  would  devote  himself  to  the  people,  without  a  thought  of 
what  might  happen.  Nothing  should  come  between  him  and 
his  work  for  humanity — nothing  whatever — not  even  .  .  .  but, 
no,  he  could  not  think  of  it ! 

He  was  turning  into  the  Piazza  Navona,  when  a  tall  young 
man,  of  soldierly  bearing,  stepped  up  beside  him,  and  spoke  in 
a  low  tone. 

"The  Honourable  Mr.  Eossi,  I  think?" 

"  Yes." 

"  My  name  is  De  Raymond.  I  belong  to  the  Pope's  Guard. 
I  think  His  Holiness  may  have  something  to  say  to  you." 

"Does  he  know  that  I  am  not  a  good  Catholic?" 

"  He  knows  you  are  not  a  Protestant.  But  it  is  something 
social,  something  political,  something  that  affects  the  position 
you  are  placed  in  at  present.  And,  of  course.  His  Holiness 
would  not  ask  you  to  meet  himself." 

"Whom,  then?" 

"  A  representative  I  would  have  the  honour  to  take  you  to." 

"When?" 

"  To-morrow  morning  at  eleven,  if  that  will  do." 

"  Very  well." 

"  I  will  be  waiting  on  this  spot.  Meantime  our  intei'view 
is  quite  confidential?  " 

"  Quite." 

VII 

Two  letters  were  awaiting  David  Rossi  in  his  room. 

One  was  a  circular  from  the  President  of  the  Chamber  of 
Deputies  summoning  Parliament  for  the  day  after  to-morrow 
to  elect  officials  and  reply  to  the  speech  of  the  King. 

The  other  was  from  Roma,  and  the  address  was  in  a  large, 
hurried  hand.    David  Rossi  broke  the  seal  with  nervous  fingers. 

"  My  Dear  Friend, — I  know !  I  know !  I  know  now  what  the 
obstacle  is.  B.  gave  me  the  hint  of  it  on  one  of  the  days  of  last 
week,  when  I  was  so  anxious  to  see  you  and  you  did  not  come. 


DAVID   ROSSI  191 

It  is  your  unflinching  devotion  to  your  mission  and  to  your 
public  duties.  You  are  one  of  those  who  think  that  when  a 
man  has  dedicated  his  life  to  work  for  the  world,  he  should 
give  up  everything  else — father,  mother,  wife,  child — and  live 
like  a  priest,  who  puts  away  home,  and  love,  and  kindred,  that 
others  may  have  them  more  abundantly.  I  can  understand 
that,  and  see  a  sort  of  nobility  in  it  too,  especially  in  days  when 
the  career  of  a  statesman  is  only  a  path  to  vainglory  of  every 
kind.    It  is  great,  it  is  glorious,  it  thrills  me  to  think  of  it. 

"  But  I  am  losing  faith  in  my  unknown  sister  that  is  to  be, 
in  spite  of  all  mj^  pleading.  You  say  she  is  beautiful — that's 
well  enough,  but  it  comes  by  nature.  You  say  she  is  sweet,  and 
true,  and  charming — and  I  am  willing  to  take  it  all  on  trust. 
But  when  you  say  she  is  noble-hearted,  I  respectfully  refuse 
to  believe  it.  If  she  were  that,  you  would  be  sure  that  she 
would  know  that  friendship  is  the  surest  part  of  love,  and  to 
be  the  friend  of  a  great  man  is  to  be  a  help  to  him,  and  not 
an  impediment. 

"  My  gracious !  What  does  she  think  you  are?  A  cavaliere 
servente  to  dance  attendance  on  her  ladyship  day  and  night  ?  I 
shall  certainly  despise  her  if  that  is  her  hope  and  expectation. 
Xo,  no !  Give  me  the  woman  who  wants  her  husband  to  be  a 
man,  with  a  man's  work  to  do,  a  man's  burdens  to  bear,  and  a 
man's  triumphs  to  win,  whatsoever  they  are  and  wheresoever 
they  take  him,  down  to  the  depths  of  disappointment  or  up  to 
the  glory  of  the  cross. 

"  Yet  perhaps  I  am  too  hard  on  my  unknown  sister  that  is 
to  be  or  ought  to  be,  and  it  is  only  your  own  distrust  that 
wrongs  her.  If  she  is  the  daughter  of  one  brave  man  and  really 
loves  another,  she  knows  her  place  and  her  duty.  It  is  to  be 
ready  to  follow  her  husband  wherever  he  must  go,  to  share  his 
fate  whatever  it  may  be,  and  to  live  his  life,  because  it  is  now 
her  own. 

"  And  since  I  am  in  the  way  of  pleading  for  her  again,  let 
me  tell  you  how  simple  you  arc  to  suppose  that  because  you 
have  never  disclosed  your  secret  she  may  never  have  guessed  it. 
Goodness  me !  To  think  that  men  who  can  make  women  love 
them  to  madness  itself  can  be  so  ignorant  as  not  to  know  that 
a  woman  can  always  tell  if  a  man  loves  her,  and  even  fix  the 
very  day  and  hour  and  minute  when  he  looked  into  her  eyes  and 
loved  her  first. 

"  And  if  my  unknown  sister  that  ought  to  be  knows  that 
you  love  her,  be  sure  that  she  loves  you  in  return.    Have  you 


192  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

thought  of  that.  A  thousand  to  one  she  loved  you  before  you 
dreamt  of  loving  her,  and  waited  and  watched  for  the  return 
of  the  dove  of  promise  she  had  cast  out  on  to  the  waters  of 
your  heart.  Then  trust  her.  Take  the  counsel  of  a  woman  and 
go  to  her.  Remember,  that  if  you  are  suffering  by  this  separa- 
tion, perhaps  she  is  suffering  too,  and  if  she  is  worthy  of  the 
love  and  friendship  of  a  better  man  than  you  are,  or  ever  hope 
to  be  (which,  without  disparaging  her  ladyship,  I  respectfully 
refuse  to  believe),  let  her  at  least  have  the  refusal  of  one  or 
both  of  them. 

"  Good-night !  I  go  to  the  Chamber  of  Deputies  again  the 
day  after  to-morrow,  being  so  immersed  in  public  matters  (and 
public  men)  that  I  can  think  of  nothing  else  at  present.  Hap- 
pily my  bust  is  out  of  hand,  and  the  caster  (not  B.  this  time) 
is  hard  at  work  on  it. 

"  You  won't  hear  anything  about  the  M doings,  yet  I 

assure  you  they  are  a  most  serious  matter.  Unless  I  am 
much  mistaken  there  is  an  effort  on  foot  to  connect  you  with 
my  father,  which  is  surely  sufficiently  alarming.  M is  re- 
turning to  Rome,  and  I  hear  rumours  of  an  intention  to  bring 
pressure  on  some  one  here  in  the  hope  of  leading  to  identifica- 
tion.   Think  of  it,  I  beg,  I  pray ! — Your  friend,  R." 


VIII 

At  eleven  o'clock  next  morning  the  young  Noble  Guard  was 
waiting  for  David  Rossi  by  the  corner  of  the  Piazza  Navona. 
They  got  into  a  carriage  and  drove  along  the  bank  of  the  Tiber. 
The  carriage  drew  up  in  the  Ripetta,  a  busy  thoroughfare,  be- 
fore a  grey  palace  which  Rossi  recognised.  It  was  the  Jesuit 
College. 

A  black  gate,  resembling  the  portcullis  to  a  castle,  crossed 
the  mouth  of  the  portico,  shutting  off  everything  within.  The 
bell  was  answered  immediately,  and  without  a  word  being 
spoken  the  two  men  were  taken  up  a  flight  of  stone  stairs.  A 
pale  and  emaciated  young  priest  stood  waiting  at  the  top.  He 
showed  them  into  a  room  in  silence,  and  then  left  them.  The 
room  overlooked  the  street,  but  it  was  closely  curtained  and 
dark,  and  had  the  dead  atmosphere  of  a  chamber  whose  windows 
are  rarely  opened.  A  sound  of  men's  voices  singing  had  fol- 
lowed them  from  the  courtyard. 

There  were  two  principal  pictures  on  the  wall.     One  of 


DAVID  ROSSI  193 

tliem  showed  a  figure  dressed  wholly  in  white,  the  other  a  figure 
dressed  wholly  in  black. 

"  We  call  them  the  white  and  the  black  popes,"  whispered 
the  young  Guard. 

Under  the  black  pope  hung  a  text-card  with  the  words, 
"  Let  those  who  live  in  obedience  be  led  and  guided  by  their 
Superior,  like  the  corpse  which  may  be  turned  and  handled  in 
any  way."  On  a  table  by  the  wall  there  was  a  Madonna  in  a 
glass  case.  It  was  a  beautiful  face  and  figure — the  ideal  of 
pure,  sinless  womanhood,  which  even  in  monasteries  and  cells 
is  a  sustaining  force  to  man.  David  Rossi  looked  at  it  with  a 
great  tenderness,  tears  rose  to  his  eyes,  and  the  voices  of  the 
men  came  floating  to  him  from  below. 

The  singing  ceased,  there  was  a  step  outside,  the  door 
opened,  and  a  large  man  in  a  black  soutane  broidered  with  scar- 
let and  wearing  a  scarlet  skull-cap  entered  the  room. 

The  young  Guard  kissed  the  episcopal  ring,  presented 
Kossi,  smiled,  and  went  away. 

"  Pray  sit,  Mr.  Rossi,"  said  the  Cardinal,  and  he  placed  a 
chair  for  him  facing  the  window. 

Although  his  voice  was  naturally  a  harsh  one,  the  tones 
were  soft;  and  despite  an  ungainly  figure,  his  manner  was 
suave  and  gracious.  He  sat  with  his  back  to  the  light,  and 
opened  the  conversation  with  a  playful  hope  that  Mr.  Rossi  was 
not  afraid  of  the  Jesuits.  The  world  made  them  the  scapegoats 
of  hiimanity,  but  they  were  happy  enough  if  they  bore  away 
its  sins. 

"  I  understand  His  Holiness  has  something  to  say  to  me," 
said  Rossi. 

Without  replying,  the  Cardinal  paid  some  graceful  compli- 
ments to  Rossi  himself.  In  days  when  politicians  were  for  the 
most  part  light  and  even  corrupt  persons,  when  the  whole 
power  of  the  State  was  in  the  hands  of  anti-Christians,  when 
the  baneful  effects  of  secret  societies,  especially  the  Freema- 
sons, were  so  keenly  felt,  it  was  something  to  find  a  statesman 
with  so  strong  a  sentiment  of  religion.  The  legislative  assem- 
blies of  Europe  had  need  of  such  men. 

"  Perhaps  these  evils  are  permitted  by  our  Divine  Master 
for  the  purgation  of  the  world ;  but  you  have  proved,  dear  sir, 
that  it  is  not  necessary  that  men  should  be  irreligious  in  order 
to  be  Liberal,  or  offend  against  the  principles  of  morality  that 
they  may  love  their  country." 

"  Does  the  Holy  Father  know,"  said  David  Rossi,  "  that  I  am 


194  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

the  man  who  tried  to  stop  his  procession,  and  was  flung  out  of 
the  way  by  his  soldiers  ? " 

"  That,"  said  the  Cardinal,  with  a  scarcely  perceptible  hesi- 
tancy, "  that  was  a  case  in  which  a  warm  heart  overcame  the 
dictates  of  a  cool  head.  The  Holy  Father  is  the  Workmen's 
Pope,  and  there  is  nothing  nearer  to  his  paternal  breast  than 
the  material  welfare  of  the  lowly  ones.  But  to  have  joined 
hands  with  their  advocate  at  such  a  moment  would  have  been 
to  insult  the  reigning  powers  and  make  terms  with  the  spirit  of 
rebellion." 

David  Rossi  was  about  to  speak,  but  with  a  smile  and  a 
conciliatory  gesture  the  Cardinal  raised  his  hand  and  a  large 
sapphire  set  in  brilliants  flashed  in  the  light. 

"  We  have  come  nearer  into  line  since  then,  dear  sir.  The 
new  projects  of  law  which  are  directed  against  you  are  directed 
against  us  as  well ;  a  fresh  subject  of  bitterness  has  been  added 
to  our  griefs,  and  Ave  are  both  suffering  from  the  hostility  of 
the  Government." 

Then  the  Cardinal  spoke  of  the  many  societies  connected 
with  the  Church  that  would  be  affected  by  the  proposed  law, 
the  sodalities,  banks,  clubs,  circles,  and  schools. 

"  On  the  first  pretext  of  the  police,  it  will  be  easy  to  dissolve 
all  these  associations,  which  have  been  conducted  during  many 
years  for  the  good  of  the  Church  and  the  people.  It  will  no 
longer  be  possible  to  hold  a  meeting  or  to  carry  a  banner  or 
emblem  which  the  police  chooses  to  regard  as  seditious.  Indeed, 
the  dissolution  of  the  clerical  clubs  would  be  a  religious  cam- 
paign, and  we  are  by  no  means  sure  that  it  is  not  intended  to 
carry  war  into  the  camp  of  the  Vatican  under  the  cover  of 
public  security  and  the  suppression  of  anarchism.  Be  that 
as  it  may,  it  is  clear  that  the  same  method  of  defence  which 
will  be  good  for  your  associations  will  be  good  for  ours 
also." 

"  And  that  is — what,  your  Eminence?  " 

The  Cardinal  cleared  his  throat. 

"  You  are  aware  that  the  Holy  Father  has  forbidden  his 
faithful  children  to  participate  in  the  affairs  of  a  Government 
which  exists  by  the  abrogation  of  his  rights  and  the  spoliation 
of  his  treasure." 

Rossi  bowed  assent. 

"  But  the  Church  does  not  deny  itself  the  right  to  take  part 
in  the  secular  affairs  of  Italy  where  to  do  so  is  hopeful  of  good 
results  to  the  Catholic  Church,  and  it  would  not  be  opposed  to 


DAVID   ROSSI  195 

any  honourable  plans  of  freedom  which  are  agreeable  to  moral- 
ity and  religion." 

"  You  think  of  a  Catholic  party  in  the  Assembly  ? " 

"Xo,  Mr.  Rossi.  A  Catholic  party  in  the  Assembly  of 
Italy  would  have  to  begin  by  abandoning  the  temporal  claims 
of  the  Poi)e.  It  is  not  necessary.  One  of  the  parties  already 
there  might  serve  as  well — your  own,  for  example." 

"  You  mean,"  said  Rossi,  "  that  the  Holy  Father  would 
liberate  his  people  from  his  injunction,  and  tell  them  to  vote 
for  me  ?  " 

"  Why  not  ?  Politically  our  objects  at  this  moment  are  the 
same.  You  could  not  protect  your  own  associations  without 
protecting  ours.  But  you  are  weak  while  we  are  strong.  The 
clerical  clubs  are  all  over  Italy.  They  keep  records  of  the 
people  everywhere.  We  are  in  touch  with  them  in  Rome,  and 
can  call  them  up  at  a  given  signal.  With  our  strength  behind 
you  it  will  be  possible  for  you  to  tell  Parliament  that  Ministers 
do  not  represent  the  country,  and  challenge  them  to  prove  it. 
You  will  overthrow  the  Government." 

"And  then?" 

"  You  will  have  saved  Italy  from  a  cruel  religious  war,  pro- 
tected the  rights  of  public  meeting,  and  preserved  your  own 
associations  and  those  of  the  Church." 

"And  then?" 

"  Then,"  said  the  Cardinal,  playing  with  the  gold  chain  that 
hung  from  his  neck,  "  you  will  remember  the  power  that  helped 
you  to  office,  and  think  of  the  dolorous  circumstances  in  which 
it  is  placed,  with  its  papal  palace  occupied  by  the  King,  its 
convents  and  monasteries  converted  into  barracks  and  police 
offices,  its  treasury  confiscated,  and  its  Holy  Head  deprived  of 
the  independence  which  is  necessary  for  the  free  exercise  of  his 
apostolic  mission." 

"  In  short,"  said  Rossi,  "  we  should,  in  return  for  your  as- 
sistance, heal  the  discord  between  Italy  and  the  Holy  See  by 
helping  to  restore  the  temporal  power  of  the  Pope  ? " 

Without  replying,  the  Cardinal  bent  his  head. 

"  Would  anything  else  be  expected  of  us  ?  " 

"  Mr.  Rossi,"  said  the  Cardinal,  "  I  have  had  the  honour  to 
read  some  of  your  writings,  and  I  rejoice  in  your  faith  in  the 
destinies  of  Rome.  That  the  Eternal  City  will  once  more  rule 
the  world,  that  a  special  mission  is  assigned  to  her  by  God,  is 
our  own  conviction  also.  It  is  especially  the  faith  of  the  Holy 
Father;  and  if  by  pen  and  tongue  you  can  help  toward  the 


196  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

founding  of  a  great  federative  league  of  all  the  States  of  the 
world,  each  governed  by  its  own  laws  and  rulers,  but  all  subject 
to  Eome  as  their  metropolis,  you  will  inscribe  your  name  among 
the  greatest  benefactors  of  the  people  and  the  Church." 

David  Kossi  did  not  reply  immediately,  and  the  Cardinal 
added : 

"  But  perhaps  that  is  a  miracle  which  we  have  no  right  to 
look  for  in  our  day — although,"  he  said  with  a  subtle  gleam  in 
his  slow  eyes,  "  an  article  like  yours  in  this  morning's  paper  on 
the  evils  of  militarism  and  the  arrogated  rights  of  kings  cannot 
but  help  on  that  sublime  conception  of  the  Holy  Father  of  a 
spiritual  kingdom  on  earth  under  the  sovereignty  of  the  Vicar 
of  Jesus  Christ  himself." 

There  was  a  long  pause,  and  then  David  Rossi  said  in  a  low 
voice : 

"  I  am  sorry,  your  Eminence,  but  what  you  propose  is  quite 
impossible.  My  people  are  weak  and  their  rights  are  in  peril, 
but  I  should  not  feel  myself  an  honest  man  if  I  agreed  to  ac- 
cept your  help." 

"  And  why  not?  "  said  the  Cardinal. 

"  Because  I  see  no  difference  between  the  principles  I  op- 
pose and  those  you  ask  me  to  support  except  a  difference  of 
form,  and  no  difference  between  the  spectacle  of  the  King's  pro- 
cession yesterday  and  the  Pope's  procession  of  a  month  ago  ex- 
cept a  difference  of  clothes."  - 

The  Cardinal  made  a  slight  contemptuous  sound  in  his 
throat,  and  a  gold-buckled  shoe  and  red  stocking  protruded 
from  the  edge  of  his  black  cassock. 

"  We  should  be  changing  the  King  for  the  Pope — that's  all," 
said  Rossi. 

"  Would  you  not  be  changing  a  fallible  and  corrupt  head  of 
government  for  an  infallible  an  incorruptible  one  ? "  asked  the 
Cardinal. 

"  Is  the  Pope  infallible  in  the  world  of  fact  ? "  said 
Rossi. 

"  Pontiffs,"  said  the  Cardinal,  "  have  no  infallibility  except 
in  faith  and  morals,  but  the  spiritual  and  the  temporal  are  so 
closely  interwoven  that  certain  theologians  think  it  might  per- 
haps be  difficult  to  say  where  infallibility  would  end  in  a  Pope 
who  directed  the  affairs  of  a  state." 

"  That,"  said  Rossi,  "  is  exactly  what  was  said  of  the  em- 
perors and  kings  of  the  pagan  world.  They  claimed  to  be  not 
only  of  the  spirit,  but  the  very  blood  of  the  gods.    Put  the  Pope 


DAVID   ROSSI  197 

of  to-day  at  the  head  of  a  state  because  he  is  a  Pope,  and  his 
rule  must  claim  to  be  the  divine  rule.  If  it  does  not,  it  is  arro- 
gated, meaningless,  and  illogical.  To  be  the  rule  of  the  divine, 
it  must  be  the  rule  of  one  who  is  not  only  infallible  but  impec- 
cable and  untemptable.  There  is  only  one  infallible,  impec- 
cable and  untemptable  being.  That  is  God,  and  to  put  a  man  in 
God's  place  is  idolatry.  It  was  the  idolatry  of  the  pagan  world 
which  Christianity  came  to  wipe  away.  And  yet  the  Church 
asks  the  world  to  go  back  to  that  idolatry.  It  never  will,  it 
never  can.    The  world  has  outgrown  it." 

The  Cardinal  shifted  in  his  chair  and  said  in  a  tone  of  the 
utmost  suavity: 

"  Then,  bad  as  in  your  opinion  is  the  rule  of  the  world  un- 
der the  kings,  with  their  militarism  and  corruption,  you  think 
the  temporal  rule  of  the  Popes  would  be  no  better  ? " 

"  Much  worse,  your  Eminence,"  said  Rossi.  "  Christianity 
has  not  been  two  thousand  years  in  the  world  without  uprooting 
the  monstrous  fiction  that  the  will  of  the  king  is  the  will 
of  the  divine,  and  we  dethrone  an  unrighteous  king  without 
fear;  but  set  up  a  ruler  who  claims  to  be  infallible,  whether 
in  the  world  of  fact  or  dogma,  or  both,  and  you  establish  a 
bulwark  of  superstition  which  would  make  it  as  awful  to 
rise  up  against  an  unrighteous  Pope  as  to  rise  up  against 
God." 

"  You  make  no  allowance,  then,  for  the  probability  that  the 
Pope  would  be  righteous,  not  unrighteous — that  he  would  be 
the  father  of  all  men,  with  no  interest  to  serve  but  the  well- 
being  of  the  whole  human  family  ? " 

"  None  whatever,"  said  Rossi,  "  because  the  same  argument 
is  used  for  every  monarch,  and  it  comes  to  nothing.  The  Pope 
is  a  man,  and  a  man  has  his  own  interest  to  serve  before 
any  other." 

"  You  make  no  allowances,  too,  for  the  life  of  grace  which 
in  the  Holy  Father  might  be  expected  to  subdue  the  selfish 
impulses  of  poor  human  creatures,"  said  the  Cardinal. 

"  I  do,  your  Eminence ;  but,  on  the  other  hand,  I  make 
allowances  for  the  environment  which,  in  all  who  hold  absolute 
power,  tends  to  make  an  unselfish  man  selfish,  a  modest  man 
proud,  a  good  man  bad.  The  only  atmosphere  that  surrounds 
a  Pope,  like  the  only  atmosphere  that  surounds  a  king,  is  an 
atmosphere  of  servility  and  flattery.  It  develops  the  evil,  not 
the  noble  muscles  of  his  soul.  No  man  is  better  for  being  Pope, 
and  the  saintly  man  is  worse." 


198  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

The  Cardinal's  chair  was  creaking  under  the  movement  of 
his  body,  and  a  gold  cross  which  had  been  fixed  in  his  sash 
swung  loose  from  his  neck. 

"  And  if,"  he  said,  "  the  divine  rule  of  the  world  is  not  to 
be  looked  for  from  Popes  and  kings,  pray  where  is  it  to  come 
from  ? " 

"  From  Humanity,"  said  David  Rossi, 

The  Cardinal  held  up  both  hands  with  a  mock  gesture  which 
even  his  courtesy  could  not  repress. 

"  Why  not  ? "  said  David  Ilossi.  "  The  sentiment  in  Hu- 
manity is  the  noblest  and  holiest  thing  we  have  in  the  world. 
It  is  our  only  proof  of  God,  of  immortality,  and  of  right 
and  wrong." 

"  Poor  Humanity !  What  of  its  frightful  errors  ?  Its  out- 
breaks as  of  hell  itself?  "  said  the  Cardinal. 

"  Nothing,"  said  David  Ilossi,  "  except  that  they  began  in 
heaven.  The  very  worst  of  them  came  of  good  impulses  and 
ended  in  good  results.  Humanity  is  the  only  thing  divine  in 
this  world.  You  can't  appeal  to  it,  as  you  can  to  King  or  Pope, 
on  the  ignoble  side  of  the  heart  or  senses.  It  only  answers 
to  the  true  and  the  everlasting." 

"  Poor  miserable  Humanity !  "  said  the  Cardinal.  "  Differ- 
ing no  more  in  the  tenth  century  and  the  twentieth  than  the 
shifting  pictures  of  the  kaleidoscope — what  has  happened  to  the 
world  that  you  have  become  a  god  ? 

"  But  I  must  not  trouble  you  to  prolong  this  interview,"  he 
said,  rising  from  his  chair.  "  The  Holy  Father  thought  so  well 
of  you  that  he  will  be  sorry  to  hear  that  you  are  to  be  num- 
bered among  those  who,  by  the  doctrines  of  a  false  democracy, 
retard  the  pacification  of  souls  by  the  gospel." 

"  The  gospel,"  said  Rossi,  also  rising,  "  has  had  many  in- 
carnations, your  Eminence.  The  first  of  them  was  when  it 
entered  into  the  body  of  a  Jew  and  took  a  Jewish  colour.  It 
didn't  rest  there,  thanks  to  St.  Paul,  but  was  next  incarnated 
in  the  body  of  a  Roman  Emperor.  Unhappily,  so  far  as  the 
Catholic  Church  goes,  it  has  rested  there,  thanks  to  the  Popes 
and  their  Senate,  the  Sacred  College.  But  the  gospel  has 
had  another  and  a  far  greater  incarnation — its  incarnation 
into  Humanity.  That  is  what  is  going  on  in  the  world  now. 
Humanity  is  the  Pope  of  the  twentieth  century." 

The  Cardinal,  who  had  been  moving  towards  the  door,  was 
arrested,  and  stood. 

"  The  Pope  I  dream  of,  the  sublime  Pontiff  of  the  future," 


DAVID  ROSSI  199 

said  Rossi,  "  will  be  no  longer  content  to  live  in  the  mummy  of 
a  Roman  emperor.  He  will  live  in  the  body  of  Humanity. 
He  will  see  that  the  old  dynastic  world  is  dead,  and  a  world  of 
the  peoples  is  coming  on,  and  that  the  Christendom  of  Rome 
must  widen  out  to  be  the  Christendom  of  the  world.  He  will 
not  look  to  the  sovereigns  and  classes,  which  are  shadows  van- 
ishing away,  but  to  thfe  people  who  are  realities,  and  last  for 
ever ;  he  will  know  that  the  strength  of  the  Church  in  all  ages 
and  all  countries  is  the  poor,  and  when  they  kneel  at  his  feet  to 
ask  him  to  protect  their  bread,  he  will  not  set  all  his  tempo- 
ralities against  the  hunger  of  one  starving  child." 

The  Cardinal  was  moved,  even  against  his  convictions,  and 
being  an  honest  raan  he  did  not  attempt  to  conceal  it. 

"  I'm  sorry,"  he  said,  "  and  the  Holy  Father  will  be  sorry, 
that  one  with  so  strong  a  sentiment  of  religion  must  hence- 
forth be  numbered  among  the  enemies — the  most  serious 
enemies — of  the  Church." 

"  My  reverence  to  His  Holiness,"  said  Rossi  in  a  low  voice. 
"  Tell  him  if  you  will  that  a  humble  and  unknown  son  looks 
up  to  him  with  the  deepest  love  and  veneration.  Tell  him  that 
a  fatherless  man  feels  towards  him,  though  so  high  above,  as  to 
a  father,  whose  hand  he  would  go  far  to  touch.  But  God  gave 
me  a  will  that  is  free,  and  I  cannot  give  it  up  even  to  the 
saintliest  man  in  all  the  world." 

"  Good-bye,  my  son,"  said  the  Cardinal.  "  I  shall  think  of 
you  very  often.  Your  faith  in  Humanity  is  beautiful,  but  you 
are  awakening  a  monster,  and  God  knows  what  it  may  do  to 
you  yet.    Take  care !    Take  care !  " 

The  Cardinal  saw  his  visitor  to  the  black  gate  below,  and 
then  went  through  the  chill  corridors  with  drooping  head.  The 
traffic  in  the  street  was  thick  and  noisy,  and  the  sun  outside 
was  warm  and  bright. 

IX 

On  reaching  home,  David  Rossi  found  his  day  assistant 
waiting  for  him  with  a  troubled  face. 

There  was  bad  news  from  the  office.  The  morning's  edition 
of  the  Sunrise  had  been  confiscated  by  the  police  owing  to  the 
article  on  the  King's  speech  and  procession.  A  proof  of  the 
issue  had  been  sent  the  night  before  to  the  office  of  the  Procura- 
tore  del  Re;  but  that  morning  at  eleven  all  unsold  copies  had 
been  seized  at  the  newsagents.     The  proprietors  of  the  paper 


200  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

were  angry  with  their  editor,  and  demanded  to  see  him  im- 
mediately. 

"  Tell  them  I'll  be  at  the  oflB.ce  at  four  o'clock,  as  usual," 
said  Rossi,  and  he  sat  down  to  write  a  letter. 

It  was  to  Roma.  The  moment  he  took  up  the  pen  to  write 
to  her,  the  air  of  the  room  seemed  to  fill  with  a  sweet  feminine 
presence  that  banished  everything  else.  It  was  like  talking  to 
her.    She  was  beside  him.    He  could  hear  her  soft  replies. 

"  If  it  were  possible  to  heighten  the  pain  of  my  feelings 
when  I  decided  to  sacrifice  my  best  wishes  to  my  sense  of  duty, 
a  letter  like  your  last  would  be  more  than  I  could  bear.  The 
obstacle  you  deal  with  is  not  the  one  which  chiefly  weighs  with 
me,  but  it  is  a  very  real  impediment,  not  altogether  disposed  of 
by  the  sweet  and  tender  womanliness  with  which  you  put  it 
aside.  In  that  regard  what  troubles  me  most  is  the  hideous 
inequality  between  what  the  man  gives  and  what  he  gets,  and 
the  splendid  devotion  with  which  the  woman  merges  her  life  in 
the  life  of  the  man  she  marries  only  quickens  the  sense  of  his 
selfishness  in  allowing  himself  to  accept  so  great  a  prize. 

"  In  my  own  case,  the  selfishness,  if  I  yielded  to  it,  would 
be  greater  far  than  anybody  else  could  be  guilty  of,  and  of  all 
men  who  have  sacrificed  women's  lives  to  their  own  career,  I 
should  feel  myself  to  be  the  most  guilty  and  inexcusable.  My 
dear  and  beloved  girl  is  nobly  born,  and  lives  in  wealth  and 
luxury,  while  I  am  poor — poor  by  choice,  and  therefore  poor  for 
ever,  -oithout  father  or  mother,  brought  up  as  a  foundling,  and 
without  a  name  that  I  dare  call  my  own. 

"  I  do  not  complain  of  this,  and  down  to  the  present  mo- 
ment, if  I  have  remembered  it  with  pain,  I  have  also  thought  of 
it  with  joy.  It  was  the  badge  of  my  calling,  the  sign  manual 
of  God's  will,  to  set  me  apart,  being  a  man  cut  oflF  from  any 
earthly  tie,  for  a  work  for  the  world.  For  ten  years  I  have 
taken  up  the  part  to  which  ISTature  herself  assigned  me.  And 
what  is  the  result?  I  am  a  pauper,  an  outcast,  one  who  must 
be  ready  to  go  through  any  dangers  any  day  for  the  work  he 
has  set  before  himself — friendless,  kinless,  loveless,  joyless, 
and  alone. 

"  What  then  ?  Shall  such  a  man  ask  such  a  woman  as  she 
is  to  come  into  the  circle  of  his  life,  to  exchange  her  riches  for 
his  poverty,  her  comfort  for  his  suffering  ?    No ! 

"  Besides,  what  woman  could  do  it  if  I  did  ?  Women  can 
be  unselfish,  they  can  be  faithful,  they  can  be  true ;  but — don't 
ask  me  to  say  things  I  do  not  want  to  say — women  love  wealth 


DAVID  ROSSI  201 

and  luxury  and  ease,  and  shrink  from  pain  and  poverty  and 
the  forced  marches  of  a  hunted  life.  And  why  shouldn't  they  ? 
Heaven  spare  them  all  such  sufferings  as  men  alone  should  bear. 

"  Yet  all  this  is  still  outside  the  greater  obstacle  which 
stands  between  me  and  the  dear  girl  from  whom  I  must  sepa- 
rate myself  now,  whatever  it  may  cost  me,  as  an  inexorable 
duty.  I  entreat  you  to  spare  me  the  pain  of  explaining  further. 
Believe  that  for  her  sake  my  resolution,  in  spite  of  all  your 
sweet  and  charming  pleading,  is  strong  and  unalterable. 

"  Only  one  thing  more.  If  it  is  as  you  say  it  may  be,  that 
she  loves  me,  though  I  had  no  right  to  believe  so,  that  will 
only  add  to  my  unhappiness  in  thinking  of  the  wrench  that  she 
must  suffer.  But  she  is  strong,  she  is  brave,  she  is  the  daugh- 
ter of  her  father,  and  I  have  faith  in  the  natural  power  of 
her  mind,  in  her  youth  and  the  chances  of  life  for  one  so  beauti- 
ful and  so  gifted,  to  remove  the  passing  impression  that  may 
have  been  made. 

"  Good-bye,  yet  again !     And  God  bless  you !  D. 

"  P.S. — I  am  not  afraid  of  M ,  and  come  when  he  may, 

I  shall  certainly  stand  my  ground.  There  is  only  one  person  in 
Rome  who  could  be  used  against  me  in  the  direction  you  in- 
dicate, and  I  could  trust  her  with  my  heart's  blood." 


Before  two  o'clock  next  day  the  Chamber  of  Deputies  was 
already  full.  The  royal  chair  and  baldacchino  had  been  re- 
moved and  their  place  was  occupied  by  the  usual  bench  of  the 
President.  Below  the  bench  of  the  President  was  the  table  of 
the  Ministers,  with  its  ten  chairs,  still  empty.  Between  the 
table  of  the  Ministers  and  the  first  row  of  circular  stalls  there 
was  an  open  space,  containing  nothing  but  the  desk  of  the 
official  shorthand  writers. 

The  seats  of  the  Deputies  were  mostly  occupied,  though  a 
few  of  the  members  stood  in  groups  on  the  floor.  In  the  central 
gallery  were  two  lines  of  journalists,  some  of  them  sketching, 
others  writing  descriptive  notes.  The  galleries  at  the  sides 
were  filled  with  Senators,  diplomatists,  ladies,  and  the  gen- 
eral public. 

When  the  Prime  Minister  took  his  place,  cool,  collected, 
smiling,  faultlessly  dressed  and  wearing  a  flower  in  his  button- 
hole, he  was  greeted  with  some  applause  from  the  members,  and 
14 


202  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

the  dry  rustle  of  fans  in  the  ladies'  tribune  was  distinctly 
heard.  The  leader  of  the  Opposition  had  a  less  marked  recep- 
tion, and  when  David  Kossi  glided  round  the  partition  to  his 
place  on  the  extreme  left,  there  was  a  momentary  hush,  fol- 
lowed by  a  buzz  of  voices. 

Then  the  President  of  the  Chamber  entered,  with  his  secre- 
taries about  him,  and  took  his  seat  in  a  central  chair  under 
a  bust  of  the  young  King.  Ushers,  wearing  a  linen  band 
of  red,  white,  and  green  on  their  arms,  followed  with  portfo- 
lios, and  with  little  trays  containing  water-bottles  and  glasses. 
Conversation  ceased,  and  the  President  rang  a  hand-bell 
that  stood  by  his  side,  and  announced  that  the  sitting  was 
begun. 

The  first  important  business  of  the  day  was  the  reply  to  the 
speech  of  the  King,  and  the  President  called  on  the  member 
who  had  been  appointed  to  undertake  this  duty.  A  young 
Deputy,  a  man  of  letters,  then  made  his  way  to  a  bar  behind 
the  chairs  of  the  Ministers  and  read  from  a  printed  paper  a 
florid  address  to  the  sovereign. 

The  address  recited  the  clauses  and  terms  of  the  King's 
speech,  with  expressions  of  approval.  His  Majesty's  Parlia- 
ment rejoiced  to  learn  that  his  Government  proposed  to  in- 
crease still  further  the  strength  and  efficiency  of  the  army. 
They  also  rejoiced  that  safety  of  life  and  property  was  to  be  se- 
cured to  the  nation  by  measures  intended  to  punish  the  crimi- 
nals who  threatened  law  and  order.  Most  of  all,  they  rejoiced 
that  the  parasitic  organisations  which  disseminated  the  seeds 
of  rebellious  and  anarchist  doctrines  were  to  be  cut  off  by  a 
vigorous  remodelling  of  the  privileges  of  the  press  and  public 
meeting. 

Having  read  his  printed  document,  the  Deputy  proceeded  to 
move  the  adoption  of  the  reply. 

With  the  proposal  of  the  King  and  the  Government  to  in- 
crease the  army  he  would  not  deal.  It  required  no  recom- 
mendation. The  people  were  patriots.  They  loved  their  coun- 
try, and  would  spend  the  last  drop  of  their  blood  to  defend  it. 
The  only  persons  who  were  not  with  the  King  in  his  desire  to 
uphold  the  army  were  the  secret  foes  of  the  nation  and  the 
dynasty — persons  who  were  in  league  with  their  enemies. 

"  That,"  said  the  speaker,  "  brings  us  to  the  next  clause  of 
our  reply  to  His  Majesty's  gracious  speech.  We  know  that 
there  exists  among  the  associations  aimed  at  a  compact  be- 
tween strangely  varying  forces — between  the  forces  of  social- 


DAVID  ROSSI  203 

ims,  republicanism,  unbelief,  and  anarchy,  and  the  forces  of 
the  Church  and  the  Vatican. 

"  These  natural  enemies  are  joining  hands  to  pull  down  the 
nation  and  the  monarchy.  The  Church,  to  which  we  gave  a 
guarantee  of  liberty  in  the  exercise  of  its  religious  rights,  is 
abusing  our  leniency  to  teach  doctrines  of  hatred  against  the 
State.  Its  journals  and  its  priests  are  writing  and  preaching 
insolent  abuse  of  the  institutions  of  the  country.  The  Prince 
of  the  Church,  this  loud-voiced  advocate  of  peace  for  the  rest 
of  the  world,  never  opens  his  lips  without  lamentations  about 
the  loss  of  his  temporal  power,  which  can  have  no  object  and 
no  meaning  if  they  are  not  intended  to  incite  our  people  to 
a  fratricidal  war,  or  provoke  the  Governments  of  Europe  to 
take  up  arms  against  us  on  his  behalf." 

This  was  received  with  almost  universal  applause,  during 
which  the  speaker  mixed  himself  a  glass  of  sherbet  from  a  bowl 
brought  by  an  usher,  stirred  and  drank  it,  and  then  continued : 

"  More  than  that,  gentlemen,  the  Church  helps  every  propa- 
ganda inspired  by  hatred  against  the  State;  and  it  is  within  the 
knowledge  of  the  Government  that  certain  persons  who  have 
taken  the  oath  of  allegiance  to  the  reigning  sovereign  as  mem- 
bers of  this  House  are  in  close  communication  with  the  agents 
and  ministers  of  the  Vatican." 

At  this  statement  there  was  a  great  commotion.  Members 
on  the  Left  protested  with  loud  shouts  of  "  It  is  not  true,"  and 
in  a  moment  the  tongues  and  arms  of  the  whole  assembly 
were  in  motion.  The  President  rang  his  bell,  and  the 
speaker  concluded. 

"  Let  us  draw  the  teeth  of  both  parties  to  this  secret  con- 
spiracy, that  they  may  never  again  use  the  forces  of  poverty 
and  discontent  to  disturb  public  order." 

When  the  speaker  sat  down,  his  friends  thronged  around 
him  to  shake  hands  with  him  and  congratulate  him. 

Then  the  eyes  of  the  house  and  of  the  audience  in  the  gal- 
lery turned  to  David  Rossi.  He  had  sat  with  folded  arms  and 
head  do-«Ti  while  his  followers  screamed  their  protests.  But 
passing  a  paper  to  the  President,  he  now  rose  and  said : 

"  I  ask  permission  to  propose  an  amendment  to  the  reply  to 
the  King's  speech." 

"You  have  the  word,"  said  the  President. 

David  Rossi  read  his  amendment.  At  the  feet  of  His 
Majesty  it  humbly  expressed  an  opinion  that  the  present  was 
not  a  time  at  which  fresh  burdens  should  be  laid  upon  the 


204  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

country  for  the  support  of  the  army,  with  any  expectation 
that  they  could  be  borne.  Misfortune  and  suffering  had 
reached  their  climax.    The  cup  of  the  people  was  full. 

At  this  language  some  of  the  members  laughed.  There  were 
cries  of  "  Order  "  and  "  Shame,"  and  then  the  laughter  was 
resumed.  The  President  rang  his  bell,  and  at  length  silence 
was  secured.  David  Rossi  began  to  speak  in  a  voice  that  was 
firm  and  resolute. 

"  If,"  he  said,  "  the  statement  that  members  of  this  House 
are  in  alliance  with  the  Pope  and  the  Vatican  is  meant  for  me 
and  mine,  I  give  it  a  flat  denial.  And,  in  order  to  have  done 
with  this  calumny  once  and  for  ever,  permit  me  to  say  that 
between  the  Papacy  and  the  people,  as  represented  by  us,  there 
is  not,  and  never  can  be,  anything  in  common.  In  temporal 
affairs,  the  theory  of  the  Papacy  rejects  the  theory  of  the 
democracy.  The  theory  of  the  democracy  rejects  the  theory 
of  the  Papacy.  The  one  claims  a  divine  right  to  rule  in  the 
person  of  the  Pope  because  he  is  Pope.  The  other  denies 
all  divine  right  except  that  of  the  people  to  rule  them- 
selves. 

"  Temporal  government  by  the  Pope,  whether  in  Rome  or 
throughout  the  world,  could  only  be  established  on  a  basis  of 
the  Pope's  absolutism  in  principle  if  not  in  practice,  on  a  basis 
of  the  Pope's  infallibility  in  fact  as  well  as  in  dogma;  while 
the  theory  of  democracy  is  to  banish  the  ignis  fatuus  of  ab- 
solutism and  infallibility  whether  in  Pope  or  King.  No,  there 
is  no  alliance  between  the  cause  of  the  people  and  the  tem- 
poral claims  of  the  Papacy.  There  is  war,  bitter  war.  The 
one  belongs  to  the  future,  the  other  to  the  past,  and  the  Papacy 
as  a  temporal  power  is  doomed  by  every  law  of  progress.  The 
leaders  of  the  people  do  not  ally  themselves  with  a  hope 
that  is  dead." 

This  was  received  with  some  applause  mingled  with 
laughter  and  certain  shouts  flung  out  in  a  shrill  hysterical 
voice.  The  President  rang  his  bell  again,  and  David  Rossi 
continued : 

"  The  proposal  to  increase  the.  army,"  he  said,  "  in  a  time 
of  tranquillity  abroad  but  of  discord  at  home,  is  the  gravest 
impeachment  that  could  be  made  of  the  Government  of  a 
country.  Under  a  right  order  of  things  Parliament  would  be 
the  conscience  of  the  people,  Government  would  be  the  servant 
of  that  conscience,  and  rebellion  would  be  impossible.  But  this 
Government  is  the  master  of  the  country  and  is  keeping  the 


DAVID   ROSSI  205 

people  down  by  violence  and  oppression.  Parliament  is  dead. 
For  God's  sake  let  us  bury  it !  " 

Loud  shouts  followed  this  outburst,  and  some  of  the  dep- 
uties rose  from  their  seats,  and  crowding  about  the  speaker 
in  the  open  space  in  front,  yelled  and  screamed  at  him  like  a 
pack  of  hounds.  He  stood  calm,  playing  with  his  watch-chain, 
while  the  President  rang  his  bell  and  called  for  silence.  The 
interiniptions  died  down  at  last,  and  the  speaker  went  on: 

"  If  you  ask  me  what  is  the  reason  of  the  discontent  which 
produces  the  crimes  of  anarchism,  I  say,  first,  the  domination 
of  a  Government  which  is  absolute,  and  the  want  of  liberty  of 
speech  and  meeting.  In  other  countries  the  discontented  are 
permitted  to  manifest  their  woes,  and  are  not  pvmished  unless 
they  commit  deeds  of  violence ;  but  in  Italy  alone,  except  Rus- 
sia, a  man  may  be  placed  outside  the  law,  torn  from  his  home, 
from  the  bedside  of  his  nearest  and  dearest,  and  sent  to  domi- 
cilio  coatio  to  live  or  die  in  a  silence  as  deep  as  that  of  the 
grave.  Oh,  I  know  what  I  am  saying.  I  have  been  in  the 
midst  of  it.  I  have  seen  a  father  torn  from  his  daughter,  and 
the  motherless  child  left  to  the  mercy  of  his  enemies." 

This  allusion  quieted  the  House,  and  for  a  moment  there 
was  a  dead  silence.  Then  through  the  tense  air  there  came  a 
strange  sound,  and  the  President  demanded  silence  from  the 
galleries,  whereupon  the  reporters  rose  and  made  a  negative 
movement  of  the  hand  with  two  fingers  upraised,  pointing  at 
the  same  time  to  the  ladies'  tribune. 

One  of  the  ladies  had  cried  out.  David  Rossi  heard  the 
voice,  and,  when  he  began  again,  his  own  voice  was  softer  and 
more  tremulous. 

"  Xext,  I  say  that  the  cause  of  anarchism  in  Italy,  as  every- 
where else,  is  poverty.  Wait  until  the  1st  of  February,  and 
you  shall  see  such  an  army  enter  Rome  as  never  before  invaded 
it.  I  assert  that  within  three  miles  of  this  place,  at  the  gates 
of  this  capital  of  Christendom,  human  beings  are  living  lives 
more  abject  than  that  of  savage  man. 

"  Housed  in  huts  of  straw,  sleeping  on  mattresses  of  leaves, 
clothed  in  rags  or  nearly  nude,  fed  on  maize  and  chestnuts  and 
acorns,  worked  eighteen  hours  a  day,  and  sweated  by  the  tyr- 
anny of  the  overseers,  to  whom  landlords  lease  their  lands  while 
they  idle  their  days  in  the  salons  of  Rome  and  Paris,  men  and 
women  and  children  are  being  treated  worse  than  slaves,  and 
beaten  more  than  dogs." 

At  that  there  was  a  terrific  uproar,  shouts  of  "  It's  a  lie !  " 


206  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

and  "  Traitor ! "  followed  by  a  loud  outbreak  of  jeers  and 
laughter.  Then,  for  the  first  time,  David  Rossi  lost  control  of 
himself,  and,  turning  upon  the  Parliament  with  flaming  eyes 
and  quivering  voice,  he  cried : 

"  You  take  these  statements  lightly — you  that  don't  know 
what  it  is  to  be  hungry,  you  that  have  food  enough  to  eat,  and 
only  want  sleep  to  digest  it.  But  I  know  these  things  by  bitter 
knowledge — by  experience.  Don't  talk  to  me,  you  who  had 
fathers  and  mothers  to  care  for  you,  and  comfortable  homes 
to  live  in.  I  had  none  of  these.  I  was  nursed  in  a  poorhouse 
and  brought  up  in  a  hut  on  the  Campagna.  Because  of  the 
miserable  laws  of  your  predecessors  my  mother  drowned  her- 
self in  the  Tiber,  and  I  knew  what  it  was  to  starve.  And  I  am 
only  one  of  many.  At  the  very  door  of  Rome,  under  a  Chris- 
tian Government,  the  poor  are  living  lives  of  moral  anaemia 
and  physical  atrophy  more  terrible  by  far  than  those  which 
made  the  pagan  poet  say  two  thousand  years  ago — Paucis  vivit 
humanum  genus — the  human  race  exists  for  the  benefit  of 
the  few." 

The  silence  was  breathless  while  the  speaker  made  this 
personal  reference,  and  when  he  sat  down,  after  a  denuncia- 
tion of  the  militarism  which  was  consuming  the  heart  of  the 
civilised  world,  the  House  was  too  dazed  to  make  any  man- 
ifestation. 

In  the  dead  hush  that  followed,  the  President  put  the 
necessary  questions,  but  the  amendment  fell  through  without 
a  vote  being  taken,  and  the  printed  reply  was  passed. 

Then  the  Minister  of  War  rose  to  give  notice  of  his  bill  for 
increased  military  expenditure,  and  proposed  to  hand  it  over 
to  the  general  committee  of  the  budget. 

The  Baron  Bonclli  rose  next  as  Minister  of  the  Interior, 
and  gave  notice  of  his  bill  for  the  greater  security  of  the  pub- 
lic, and  the  remodelling  of  the  laws  of  the  press  and  of  as- 
sociation. 

He  spoke  incisively  and  bitterly,  and  he  was  obviously  ex- 
cited, but  he  affected  his  usual  composure. 

"  After  the  language  we  have  heard  to-day,"  he  said,  "  and 
the  knowledge  we  possess  of  mass  meetings  projected,  it  will  not 
surprise  the  House  that  I  treat  this  measure  as  urgent,  and 
propose  that  we  consider  it  on  the  principle  of  the  three  read- 
ings, taking  the  first  of  them  in  four  days." 

At  that  there  were  some  cries  from  the  Left,  but  the  Min- 
ister continued: 


DAVID  ROSSI  207 

"  It  will  also  not  surprise  the  House  that,  to  prevent  thf3 
obstruction  of  members  who  seeni  ready  to  sing  their  Miserere 
without  end,  I  will  ask  the  House  to  take  the  readings  with- 
out debate." 

Then  in  a  moment  the  whole  House  was  in  an  uproar  and 
members  were  shaking  their  fists  in  each  other's  faces.  In 
vain"the  President  rang  his  bell  for  silence.  At  length  he  put 
on  his  hat  and  left  the  Chamber,  and  the  sitting  was  at  an  end. 

Out  in  the  lobby  a  group  of  Rossi's  followers  were  wait- 
ing for  him. 

"  What  is  to  be  done  ?  "  they  asked. 

"  Meet  me  at  the  office  of  the  Sunrise  to-morrow  afternoon 
at  four,"  he  replied,  and  then  turned  to  go  home. 

Going  out  by  a  side  street,  he  caught  a  glimpse  of  a  car- 
riage, with  coachman  in  scarlet  livery,  passing  through  the 
piazza,  but  he  only  dropped  his  head  and  went  on. 


XI 

The  last  post  that  night  brought  Rossi  a  letter  from  Roma. 

"  My  Dear,  Dear  Friend, — It's  all  up !  I'm  done  with  her ! 
My  unknown  and  invisible  sister  that  is  to  be,  or  rather  isn't  to 
be  and  oughtn't  to  be,  is  not  worth  thinking  about  any  longer. 
You  tell  me  that  she  is  good  and  brave,  and  noble-hearted,  and 
yet  you  would  have  me  believe  that  she  loves  wealth,  and  ease, 
and  luxury,  and  that  she  could  not  give  them  up  even  for  the 
sweetest  thing  that  ever  comes  into  a  woman's  life.  Out  on 
her!  What  does  he  think  a  wife  is?  A  pet  to  be  pampered, 
a  doll  to  be  dressed  up  and  danced  on  your  knee?  If  that's 
the  sort  of  woman  she  is,  I  know  what  I  should  call  her.  A 
name  is  on  the  tip  of  my  tongue,  and  the  point  of  my  finger, 
and  the  end  of  my  pen,  and  I'm  itching  to  have  it  out,  but  I 
suppose  I  must  not  write  it.  Only  don't  talk  to  me  any  more 
about  the  bravery  of  a  woman  like  that. 

"  The  wife  I  call  brave  is  a  man's  friend,  and  if  she  knows 
what  that  means,  to  be  the  friend  of  her  husband  to  all  the 
limitless  lengths  of  friendship,  she  thinks  nothing  about  sacri- 
fices between  him  and  her,  and  differences  of  class  do  not  exist 
for  either  of  them.  Her  pride  died  the  instant  love  looked  out 
of  her  eyes  at  him,  and  if  people  taunt  her  with  his  poverty,  or 
his  birth,  she  answers  and  says :    '  It's  true  he  is  jDoor,  but  his 


208  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

glory  is  that  he  was  a  workhouse  boy  who  hadn't  father  or 
mother  to  care  for  him,  and  now  he  is  a  great  man,  and  I'm 
proud  of  him,  and  not  all  the  wealth  of  the  world  shall  take  me 
away.' 

"  Oh,  how  I  wish  that  heaven  would  inspire  me  to  speak  to 
this  woman !  I  suppose  I  must  have  been  thinking  of  her  all 
last  night  after  your  letter  came,  for  some  time  in  the  morning 
I  woke  with  a  dream  that  was  so  dear  and  delicious.  I  was  at 
the  Court  ball  at  the  Quirinal,  and  I  was  dressed  more  beauti- 
fully than  I  had  ever  been  dressed  before,  and  looked  lovelier 
than  I  had  ever  looked  in  my  life.  And  the  great  people  in 
their  decorations  were  good  to  me,  and  I  danced  and  danced  in 
the  brilliant  light,  but  all  the  time  my  heart  was  in  the  dark- 
ness outside  with  some  one  who  could  not  be  there,  and  when  I 
escaped  I  ran  to  him,  and  he  rushed  on  me  like  fire  and  folded 
me  in  his  arms  and  kissed  me,  and  I  said :  *  Take  me,  clasp 
me  close,  be  a  man  and  hold  me,  and  nothing  and  nobody  shall 
come  between  us.' 

"  But,  oh  dear,  oh  dear !  I  suppose  your  fine  friend  who 
loves  herself  so  much  better  than  she  loves  love  would  think 
me  a  forward  thing  and  perhaps  even  suspect  I  was  a  wicked 
woman;  but  the  woman  of  my  dreams  wouldn't  have  cared 
much  about  that,  and  if  you  had  told  her  that  you  were  a  poor 
man  from  choice  as  well  as  necessity,  she  would  have  stripped 
off  her  diamonds  in  a  twinkling. 

"  One  thing  I  will  say,  though,  for  the  sister  that  isn't  to  be, 
and  that  is,  that  you  are  deceiving  yourself  if  you  suppose  that 
she  is  going  to  reconcile  herself  to  your  separation  while  she  is 
kept  in  the  dark  as  to  the  cause  of  it.  It  is  all  very  well  for 
you  to  pay  compliments  to  her  beauty  and  youth  and  the  natu- 
ral strength  of  her  mind  to  remove  passing  impressions,  but 
perhaps  the  impressions  are  the  reverse  of  passing  ones,  and  if 
you  go  out  of  her  life  what  is  to  become  of  her?  Have  you 
thought  of  that?  Of  course  you  haven't.  Let  me  tell  you, 
then,  what  is  likely  to  happen.  The  veil !  Think  of  it !  Death, 
and  yet  not  death,  that's  the  cruelty  of  it.  It  has  none  of  the 
peace  of  death,  or  its  inevitableness  or  its  compensations.  She 
loves  him,  but  she  must  think  of  him  as  one  who  is  dead,  and 
perhaps  weep  a  little  for  him,  too,  because  some  dark  shadow 
rose  between  them,  and  all  was  lost  and  vain.  And  he  loves 
her,  and  feels  her  tears  in  his  heart,  wherever  he  may  be,  and 
they  follow  him  and  burn  him  like  drops  of  liquid  fire. 

"  No,  no,  no  I    My  poor  sister,  you  shall  not  be  so  hard  on 


DAVID  ROSSI  209 

her.  In  my  darkness  I  could  almost  fancy  that  I  personate 
her,  and  I  am  she  and  she  is  I.  Conceited,  isn't  it?  But  I 
told  you  it  wasn't  for  nothing  I  was  a  daughter  of  Eve.  Any- 
how I  have  fought  hard  for  her  and  beaten  you  out  and  out, 
and  now  I  don't  say :  '  Will  you  go  to  her? '  You  will — I  know 
you  will. 

"  To-morrow  I  go  to  the  Chamber  of  Deputies  again !  I'm 
dying  to  see  the  end  of  that  imbroglio,  only  I  hate  to  ask  a 
third  time  for  tickets  from  the  same  quarter,  and  shall  be  so 
happy  and  proud  if  you  will  send  me  one  in  your  name,  and  let 
me  go  in  for  the  first  time  under  your  wing  and  countenance. 
I  dare  say  it  will  be  a  ticket  for  the  people's  tribune,  but  I 
shall  like  it  all  the  better  for  that,  being  in  the  act  of  wean- 
ing myself  from  places  and  people  that  have  poisoned  my  life 
too  long. 

"  My  bust  is  out  of  the  caster's  hand,  and  ought  to  be  under 
mine,  but  I've  done  no  work  again  to-day.  Tried,  but  the  glow 
of  soul  was  not  there,  and  I  was  injuring  the  face  at  every 
touch. 

"No  further  news  of'M ,  and  my  heart's  blood  is  cold 

at  the  silence.  But  if  you  are  fearless,  why  should  I  be  afraid? 
Your  friend's  friend,  R." 

XII 

The  large  room  of  the  editor  at  the  office  of  the  Sunrise  was 
filled  at  four  o'clock  next  day  by  the  fifty  odd  deputies  who 
sat  on  the  Extreme  Left.  Excitement  was  written  on  every 
countenance.  The  air  was  tense  and  hot.  "  It  is  the  beginning 
of  the  end,"  said  everybody. 

David  Rossi  presided.  His  face  was  white  and  his  manner 
was  nervous,  but  the  piercing  glances  he  cast  about  him  showed 
plainly  that  he  was  more  troubled  about  his  friends  than  his 
enemies. 

"  The  position  in  which  we  find  ourselves  to-day,"  he  said, 
"  is  not  peculiar  to  Italy ;  it  exists  in  England,  in  Germany,  in 
Russia,  and  wherever  the  old  principle  of  monarchy  is  strug- 
gling with  the  new  principle  of  representative  government. 

"  The  greatest  contribution  which  the  nineteenth  century 
made  to  the  world's  progress  was  what  it  did  to  alter  the 
political  status  of  man.  It  broke  down  the  theory  of  authority 
and  it  set  up  the  theory  of  liberty.  It  destroyed  the  pagan 
principle  of  absolutism  and  established  the  Christian  principle 


210  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

of  individual  rights.  But  absolutism  has  been  fighting  freedom 
ever  since.  It  has  fought  it  in  revolutions  and  been  beaten.  It 
has  fought  it  in  courts  of  law  and  been  beaten.  It  is  now 
fighting  it  in  Parliament  as  its  last  outwork,  and  it  must  be 
beaten  again." 

Then  he  explained  what  the  Government  proposed  to  do. 
It  asked  Parliament  to  vote  on  a  bill  without  debate.  That 
was  an  attempt  to  close  the  mouth  of  Parliament.  To  close 
the  mouth  of  Parliament  was  to  close  the  minds  of  the  people, 
and  to  close  the  minds  of  the  people  was  to  put  the  country 
at  the  mercy  of  a  corrupt  and  unscrupulous  Minister.  Voters 
would  be  bought  and  sold,  and  representative  government 
would  be  a  farce. 

"  When  a  man  entered  Parliament,"  said  Kossi,  "  he  would 
cease  to  be  a  name  and  become  a  number.  He  would  belong  to 
a  congregation  of  councillors  who  need  never  be  consulted, 
a  college  of  political  cardinals  with  a  head  above  them  who 
could  wipe  out  all  their  work." 

There  was  some  strained  laughter  at  this  thrust,  and  the 
speaker  went  on  to  tell  a  story.  It  was  of  a  Pope,  who,  as  head 
of  one  of  his  congregations,  found  his  will  opposed  to  the  will 
of  his  Cardinals.  They  had  voted  against  him  with  their  black 
counters,  whereupon  he  took  off  his  white  skull-cap,  and  laying 
it  over  the  black  balls,  he  said,  "  Your  Eminences,  they  are  all 
white,  apparently — my  resolution  is  passed." 

"  Do  we  want  the  Parliament  of  the  people  to  be  as  power- 
less as  the  Congregation  of  a  Pope?  "  said  Rossi.  "  If  not,  we 
must  fight  to  uphold  its  reality." 

With  that,  he  expounded  his  scheme  of  opposition.  The 
closure  could  only  be  put  on  Parliament  by  help  of  its  own 
elected  head — its  President.  If,  at  the  sitting  three  days  hence, 
the  President  put  the  bill  to  the  vote  without  allowing  discus- 
sion, the  instant  he  had  done  so  the  members  of  their  party 
should  rise  in  their  places  like  one  man,  and,  with  outstretched 
arms,  cry,  "  Away !  Away !  "  In  the  face  of  that  protest,  the 
President  would  suspend  the  sitting,  and  when  he  presented 
himself  on  the  day  of  the  second  reading,  he  would  encounter 
the  same  protest. 

What  would  be  the  result?  The  President  would  be  com- 
pelled to  resign,  and  public  business  would  be  impossible  until 
a  successor  had  been  elected,  who  would  undertake  to  respect 
the  privileges  of  Parliament. 

"  This,"  said  Rossi,  "  is  the  only  thing  we  can  do  as  a  mi- 


DAVID  ROSSI  211 

nority.  As  long  as  there  is  a  rag  of  parliamentary  liberty,  we 
will  stand  on  it.  And  if  they  arrest  us  and  imprison  us,  let 
them  do  so.  We  shall  have  public  opinion  at  our  back,  and 
public  opinion  is  the  strongest  force  in  the  world — stronger 
than  governments  or  armies — and  sooner  or  later  it  must  pre- 
vail." 

The  effect  of  this  advice  was  not  favourable.  Amid  mur- 
murs and  groans  one  of  the  men  rose  and  made  a  violent  speech. 
It  was  Malatesta. 

"  What's  the  good  of  punishing  the  President  ? "  he  said. 
"  The  Prime  Minister  is  the  prime  mover  in  this,  as  in  every- 
thing. He  is  the  real  cap  of  lead  that  presses  on  Italian  life. 
He  is  the  Pope  who  would  put  his  white  hat  over  our  black 
counters,  and  we  should  begin  and  end  with  him." 

This  was  received  with  exclamations  of  approval,  and,  grow- 
ing red  and  hot,  the  Deputy  continued : 

"  Let  us  give  up  talking  about  Parliament.  It  is  only  a 
houseful  of  parasitic  clients  and  time-servers- — the  fig-leaf 
which  absolutism  is  using  to  cover  its  nakedness.  Let  us  go 
to  the  people  outside." 

Loud  shouts  greeted  this  outburst,  and  the  speaker  raised 
his  voice  and  cried  again : 

"  Think  what  the  man  is  doing !  He  is  stopping  your  work- 
men from  strikes,  your  co-operative  societies  from  co-operating, 
your  trades  unions  from  carrying  a  banner,  your  poor  peasantry 
from  meeting  next  week  in  the  Coliseum  to  protest  against  the 
tax  on  bread.  He  is  flooding  the  city  with  soldiers.  He  is 
tearing  starving  men  from  the  plough  to  shoot  down  their 
brothers  and  sisters  because  they  are  starving!  He  is  paving 
the  way  for  famine,  and  for  the  pestilence  which  famine  brings 
in  its  train !  Hasn't  he  done  enough  ?  Are  we  to  be  trampled 
under  foot?  Haven't  we  the  ordinary  courage  of  Romans? 
Our  leaders  are  like  the  seven  sleepers.  What  do  they  pre- 
scribe? Some  sleeping-dravight.  to  ease  the  pains  of  the  people? 
Some  lengthening  of  the  chain  of  the  prisoner?  Useless,  and 
worse  than  useless!  Is  there  no  one  to  utter  the  living  word? 
The  time  calls  for  the  leader  who  will  gather  the  blood  of  his 
heart  into  the  palm  of  his  hand  and  scatter  it  abroad  to  warm 
suffering  souls." 

A  universal  shout  followed  those  words,  and  while  the 
Deputy  was  still  on  his  feet  another  man  had  begim  to  speak. 
It  was  Luigi  Conti. 

"  You're  right,  brother,"  he  said.    "  The  people  are  tired  of 


212  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

speechifying.  It  is  time  to  act,  and  happily  we  are  able  to  do 
so.  Our  new  association,  the  Republic  of  Man,  will  give  us  the 
sinews  of  war.  Fifty  thousand  francs  in  hand,  and  funds  com- 
ing every  day  from  the  committees  in  England  and  Germany 
and  Russia.  We  can  get  supplies  of  muskets  from  Belgium, 
and,  thanks  to  conscription,  our  young  men  can  handle 
arms." 

David  Rossi  rose  again,  and  with  difficulty  obtained  a 
hearing. 

"Brothers,"  he  said,  in  his  vibrating  voice,  "every  man 
whose  understanding  is  not  darkened  by  passion,  must  see  that 
what  you  arc  proposing  is  to  commit  robbery  and  murder. 
Robbery,  because  you  propose  to  use  for  purposes  of  violence 
funds  that  were  given  you  to  promote  peace;  and  murder 
because  you  propose  to  put  helpless  men,  women,  and  children 
into  the  way  of  being  mown  down  by  tens  of  thousands.  It 
fihall  not  be  done!    I  resist,  and  I  forbid  it." 

There  was  silence  for  a  moment,  and  then  Malatesta  said : 

"  You  threaten  to  oppose  us  ?  " 

"  I  ivill  oppose  you." 

A  general  groan  followed  this  declaration,  and  there  was 
nmch  cross-speaking.  Then,  with  a  face  of  deadly  whiteness, 
Malatesta  rose  again. 

"  Very  well,"  he  said ;  "  since  our  leader  says  our  first  duty 
is  to  deal  with  this  question  in  Parliament,  I  am  ready — I  am 
willing.  Only,"  he  added,  and  his  black  eyes  flashed,  "  if  the 
Prime  Minister,  at  the  sitting  three  days  hence,  does  what  he 
says  he  will  do,  and  we  are  silenced,  and  have  no  remedy  then 
.  ."  .  then,  by  God,  Fll  fire." 

"And  I!"    "And  I!"    "And  I!"    "And  I!"    "And  I!" 

And  the  voices  rang  through  the  room  like  a  volley  of 
musketry. 

In  the  midst  of  this  clamour  David  Rossi  rose  again. 

"  You  threaten,"  he  said,  "  to  shoot  the  Prime  Minister  in 
Parliament.  If  you  do  that,  what  will  you  be  doing?  You 
will  be  following  the  example  of  the  Government  you  de- 
nounce— you  will  be  using  violence  against  violence,  and 
proclaiming  yourselves  the  enemies  of  law  and  order.  And 
what  will  be  the  result?  Public  opinion  throughout  Europe 
will  be  against  you,  and  you  will  fling  the  people  back  into 
the  vortex  of  despair.  Euture  generations  will  curse  you,  and 
you  will  turn  back  the  clock  that  marks  the  progress  of  the 
world." 


DAVID  ROSSI  213 

"  No  matter !  "  cried  Malatesta,  laughing  wildly.  "  We'll 
take  the  consequences.  We  shall  not  be  called  cowards,  at  all 
events." 

Certain  of  the  other  men  joined  his  laughter,  and  he  lost 
himself  in  personal  innuendoes.  Some  people  preached  the  doc- 
trine that  freedom  was  not  to  be  purchased  by  a  drop  of  blood. 
Moral  courage?  Give  them  a  little  physical  courage  for  a 
change. 

"  Brothel's,"  said  David  Rossi,  rising  again,  "  if  you  knew 
how  little  personal  reason  I  have  for  protecting  the  Baron 
Bonelli,  how  my  heart  tempts  me  to  stand  by  while  his  life 
is  taken,  you  would  know  that  it  is  only  at  the  call  of  conscience 
I  tell  you  the  moment  the  crime  is  committed  I  leave  your 
side  for  ever." 

"  Of  course  you  do,"  cried  Malatesta.  "  You  go  out  to  save 
your  own  skin.  Why?  Because  you've  lost  your  courage. 
Luigi,"  he  cried,  "  you  are  a  good  Catholic — what  do  people 
do  when  they've  lost  something  ? " 

"  Say  a  Hail  Mary  to  St.  Anthony,"  said  Luigi,  and  then 
there  was  general  laughter. 

But  Malatesta  was  too  hot  for  trifling. 

"  I  tell  you  what  it  is,  gentlemen,"  he  cried.  "  The  party 
is  going  to  pieces,  because  our  leader  is  a  poltroon  and  a  cow- 
ard!" 

There  was  dead  silence.  David  Rossi  stood  motionless  at 
the  head  of  the  table. 

"Don't  you  understand  me,  sir?"  said  Malatesta. 

"  Perfectly,"  said  David  Rossi. 

"  Well,  I  have  no  wish  to  delay  the  moment  when  you  ask 
for  satisfaction.     Shall  it  be  to-morrow?" 

"Xo,  to-day,"  said  David  Rossi. 

"And  where?" 

"  Here." 

"And  when?" 

"  Now." 

David  Rossi's  face  was  livid.  It  was  with  difliculty  that  he 
uttered  a  word. 

Somebody  began  to  protest.  It  was  brutal !  Inconceivable ! 
The  objector  was  silenced.  At  moments  of  intense  excitement 
the  most  extraordinary  things  become  possible. 

"  Lock  the  doors,"  cried  one  voice,  and  another  voice  called 
for  weapons. 

"  Swords  or  revolvers — which  ?  "  said  Malatesta. 


214  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Revolvers,"  cried  Rossi,  in  measured  accents.  "  They  will 
be  more  swift  and  sure." 

Malatesta  grew  pale.  "  All  right,"  he  said,  smiling  largely, 
but  it  was  clear  that  fear  had  taken  hold  of  him. 

Revolvers  were  forthcoming  in  a  moment,  seconds  were 
appointed,  and  the  method  of  duelling  determined.  It  was  to 
be  the  simplest  method.  The  combatants  were  to  be  at  liberty 
to  fire  at  any  moment  after  taking  their  places ;  but  if  one  fired 
first  and  missed,  the  other  was  to  have  the  right  to  advance  as 
close  as  he  pleased  to  his  opponent. 

The  hush  was  breathless.  Rossi,  deadly  pale,  but  calm  and 
silent,  took  his  revolver  without  looking  at  it.  Malatesta, 
flushed  and  noisy,  cocked  his  revolver  carefully.  Then  the 
company  fell  aside,  and  the  two  men  stood  back  to  back  and 
walked  from  the  middle  to  the  ends  of  the  room. 

The  moment  Malatesta  reached  the  wall,  he  turned  quickly 
and  fired.  When  the  smoke  cleared,  Rossi  was  seen  to  be 
standing  unhurt,  with  his  revolver  by  his  side. 

Then  the  tension  was  awful.  Rossi  did  not  move,  and 
Malatesta  was  visibly  trembling  from  head  to  foot. 

"  Well,  be  quick !     Take  your  revenge,"  he  blurted  out. 

But  still  Rossi  remained  standing. 

"  Have  mercy,  will  you  ?  "  cried  Malatesta  in  a  voice  broken 
by  agony. 

Then  a  strange  thing  happened. 

Rossi  took  some  steps  forward,  then  stopped,  and  raising  his 
arm,  he  fired  into  the  ceiling. 

There  was  a  confused  murmur  among  the  men  huddled  by 
the  walls. 

"  This  was  necessary,"  said  Rossi.    "  I  could  not  cry  *  peace  ' 
any  longer  while  my  people  thought  I  was  afraid." 

Malatesta  flung  himself  at  Rossi's  feet  in  the  first  torrent 
of  overwhelming  emotion.  "  Eorgive  me,"  he  cried,  "  forgive 
me,  forgive  me !  " 

"  Get  up,"  said  Rossi.  "  I  forgive  you.  But  remember, 
from  this  hour  onward,  your  life  belongs  to  me." 

XIII 

David  Rossi  went  home  with  a  heavy  heart.  The  great  force 
which  he  had  called  into  existence  was  passing  beyond  his 
control.  A  fierce  democracy  surging  around  him  demanded 
that  he  should  follow  where  he  had  expected  to  lead. 


DAVID  ROSSI  215 

"  My  God !  my  God !  What  can  I  do  with  this  people  ?  " 
he  asked  himself. 

But  the  worst  torture  he  suffered  was  the  secret  torture  of 
his  own  heart. 

"  Why  did  I  try  to  save  that  man's  life  ? ''  he  thought. 

The  Baron  Bonelli  had  been  the  enemy  of  Dr.  Roselli,  and 
had  sent  him  to  exile  and  death. 

"  I  hate  the  man,"  he  thought. 

The  moment  he  became  conscious  of  this  idea  he  was  ter- 
rified, and  began  to  struggle  against  it.  It  was  a  temptation 
of  the  devil,  and  he  would  put  it  behind  his  back. 

But  everything  helped  and  encouraged  it.  On  reaching 
home,  he  found  the  old  Garibaldian  porter  standing  by  the 
door. 

"  One  moment.  Honourable,"  he  whispered  with  a  mysteri- 
ous air,  and  then  drawing  the  Deputy  into  his  lodge  at  the  end 
of  the  passage,  and  hiding  behind  the  muslin  curtains,  he 
pointed  to  a  young  man  who  was  going  leisurely  down  the 
street. 

"  Look  there,  sir !    There  he  is !  " 

"Who  is  it?" 

"  A  detective,  of  course.  He  has  been  dogging  your  steps 
for  days.  Old  Vampire  is  after  you.  Take  care !  Better  an 
ounce  of  liberty  than  a  pound  of  gold,  you  know." 

Conviction  had  taken  hold  of  Rossi,  but  he  reproved  the 
old  soldier.  A  detective — yes!  Set  on,  perhaps,  by  the  chiefs 
of  police.  Such  men  spent  their  lives  in  seeking  for  crime. 
They  couldn't  help  it.  It  was  the  natural  deformity  of  the 
police  mind  that  few  men  were  innocent  for  them,  and  none 
were  above  suspicion.  But  the  statesmen  .  .  .  no,  it  was  im- 
possible, he  wouldn't  believe  it. 

That  night  old  John  came  for  his  weekly  pension,  and  after 
he  had  received  it  he  lingered  a  moment  like  a  man  who  wished 
to  say  something.    At  length,  in  a  husky  voice,  he  whispered — 

"  Darkness  with  darkness  keeps  dark.  Excellency,  can  you 
keep  a  secret  ?  " 

His  grandson  was  in  the  new  secret  service,  and  had  been 
told  to  keep  watch  on  somebod3^  He  watched  him  every  day, 
and  every  night  he  reported  to  the  Minister  of  the  Interior 
himself. 

"  Better  be  a  wood-bird  than  a  cage-bird,  Excellency,"  the 
old  man  whispered,  "  and  may  the  blessed  Saints  preserve  you !  " 

Bossi  understood  at  length  the  reference  in  the  House  of 


216  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

Deputies  to  his  intercourse  with  the  Vatican — he  had.  been 
followed  to  the  Jesuit  College.  The  Baron  Bonelli  was  his 
own  enemy,  as  well  as  the  enemy  of  Dr.  Eoselli,  and  he  was 
using  the  lowest  methods  of  the  law  to  compromise  and  catch 
him, 

"Why  did  I  try  to  save  the  man's  life?"  he  asked  himself 
again. 

Bruno  came  home  with  a  mysterious  story.  The  Prime 
Minister  had  that  day  visited  Trinita  de'  Monti  in  the  absence 
of  Donna  Roma,  and  Bruno  had  overheard  his  conversation 
with  Felice. 

" '  Felice/  says  old  Vampire,  '  you've  never  had  reason  to 
regret  that  I  deprived  myself  of  your  invaluable  services  and 
gave  the  benefit  of  them  to  your  mistress  ? '  '  K^ever,  Excel- 
lency,' said  the  '  Cardinal.'  '  You  are  quite  content  to  receive 
two  salaries  instead  of  one  ? '  '  Quite,  Excellency.'  '  Then  tell 
me  what  has  happened  here  since  I  heard  from  you  last  ? ' " 

Rossi  reproved  Bruno  for  eavesdropping,  but  his  blood  was 
boiling.  The  Baron  Bonelli  was  Roma's  enemy  as  well  as  her 
father's;  he  was  using  her  as  a  weapon  against  himself,  and 
Heaven  alone  knew  what  degradation  she  was  suffering  at  the 
man's  hand. 

"  Why  did  I  try  to  save  his  contemptible  life  ?  "  he  thought 
again  and  again. 

Next  morning  a  colleague  in  Parliament  called  upon  him. 
He  was  a  big,  bluff,  hearty  creature — a  doctor. 

"  This  won't  do  at  all,"  he  said.  "  You're  as  white  as  a 
ghost  and  as  nervous  as  a  cat,  and  old  Francesca  says  you 
haven't  eaten  anything  worth  talking  of  for  a  week.  Remem- 
ber what  the  Romans  say — '  City  in  hunger,  citadel  taken.' 
ISTot  hungry?  Of  course  you're  not — that's  just  the  mischief. 
Look  here,  old  fellow !  you'll  have  to  go  out  of  town.  You 
will !  By  the  Holy  Saints,  you  will !  Good  men  are  scarce,  and 
you  know  what  we  say  in  Piedmont — 'At  the  end  of  the  game 
the  king  goes  into  the  sack  as  well  as  the  footman.'  But  your 
game  is  not  over  yet,  and  what  do  you  say  to  a  week  at  Porto 
d'Anzio?  .  .  .  When?     Now — to-day — first   train   down." 

David  Rossi  saw  through  the  artifice  instantly.  His  col- 
leagues were  trying  to  get  him  out  of  the  way.  They  intended 
to  carry  out  their  threat,  in  spite  of  all  his  protests.  In  open 
Parliament,  at  the  moment  when  the  Minister  was  trampling 
on  the  constitutional  rights  of  the  people,  they  meant  to  shoot 
him  down.     And  why  shouldn't  they?     The  man  was  putting 


DAVID   ROSSI  217 

himself  beyond  tlie  reach  of  human  law.    Very  well !  send  him 
to  the  bar  of  divine  justice !    It  would  be  justifiable  homicide ! 

And  David  Rossi?  David  Eossi  had  only  to  stand  aside 
and  let  things  take  their  course.  When  the  blow  was  struck, 
he  would  be  far  away,  and  no  one  would  be  able  to  assert  that 
he  had  aided  or  abetted  it.  Xay,  it  could  even  be  proved  that 
he  had  protested  against  the  proposal,  and  stood  to  be  shot  at  in 
order  to  uphold  his  protest.  "  But  this  is  the  devil  fighting  a 
way  out  for  my  conscience,"  he  thought,  and  he  said  aloud  : 

"  Xo,  I  will  not  leave  Rome  at  present.  I  have  my  duty  as 
a  Deputy,  and  I  must  be  in  Parliament  the  day  after  to- 
morrow." 

The  day-editor  came  from  the  office  of  the  Sunrise  with  a 
letter  from  his  proprietors.  They  were  surprised  at  his  curt 
refusal  to  meet  them  on  the  confiscation  of  the  issue  of  two 
days  ago,  and,  after  earnest  consideration  of  the  situation, 
they  had  concluded  that  his  duties  as  Deputy  and  his  responsi- 
bilities as  editor  were  liable  to  conflict,  and  therefore  they 
suggested  that  he  should  resign  his  seat  in  Parliament. 

"  Another  temptation  of  the  devil,"  he  thought,  and  he  sat 
down  instantly  to  resign  his  position  as  editor.  "  I  shall  be 
ready  to  relinquish  my  chair  as  soon  as  my  successor  has  been 
appointed,"  he  wrote;  and  the  assistant  carried  off  his  letter 
with  many  smirks  and  smiles. 

His  mind  was  confused  with  conflicting  impulses,  and  he 
could  not  settle  to  work.  So  he  sent  upstairs  for  little  Joseph, 
and  spent  a  great  part  of  the  day  playing  with  the  boy  on  the 
floor.  Joseph  was  portiere  as  usual,  clad  in  the  gorgeous  finery 
of  his  father's  biggest  hat  and  his  jacket  turned  inside  out. 
And  when  David  Rossi  came  on  hands  and  knees  and  inquired 
in  the  manner  of  a  dog  for  Donna  Roma's  poodle,  the  great 
person  who  presided  over  the  portone  drove  him  away  with  his 
mace,  and  he  went  off  barking. 

"  Holy  Virgin !  Who  would  believe  he  had  a  newspaper 
and  a  Parliament  on  his  head  I  "  said  old  Francesca,  and  she 
laughed  until  she  cried. 

Xight  fell,  and  he  was  no  further  advanced  than  at  the 
beginning  of  the  day.  He  helped  Elena  to  put  little  Joseph 
to  bed,  and  then  returned  to  his  room  to  walk  and  to  think. 
What  was  he  to  do?  Stand  aside  and  let  the  Minister  meet 
with  the  death  he  desei'ved  ?  Or  go  to  the  authorities  and  warn 
them  that  a  crime  was  about  to  be  committed  ?  To  these  ques- 
tions he  could  find  no  answer. 
15 


218  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

On  the  one  side  were  the  rights  and  liberties  of  the  people, 
the  memory  of  Dr.  lioselli's  wrongs,  the  thought  of  himself, 
and,  above  all,  of  Roma.  On  the  other  side  was  conscience — 
strong,  grim,  and  inexorable ! 

The  great  fact  of  all  was  his  own  hatred  of  the  Minister 
and  his  interest  in  the  man's  death.  Baron  Bonelli  was  the 
worst  enemy  he  had  in  the  world.  Kightly  considered,  he  was 
tlie  true  obstacle  between  Koma  and  himself,  the  dark  cloud  of 
danger  which  made  their  union  impossible. 

"  If  he  were  dead,  we  might  live,"  he  thought.  But  that 
was  precisely  why  the  man  must  not  die.  If  he  consented  to 
the  Minister's  death,  if  he  stood  by  and  permitted  it,  he  knew 
that  every  hour  of  his  future  life  would  be  racked  by  the  mem- 
ory of  how  he  had  allowed  his  private  interest  to  beguile  his 
conscience. 

But  must  he  betray  his  colleagues  instead?  They  were  his 
friends,  his  confederates;  he  had  created  the  cause  they  were 
trying  to  uphold,  and  must  he  send  them  to  prison  because  they 
had  passed  beyond  his  control  ? 

He  slept  little  that  night,  and  awoke  next  morning  with  no 
clearer  view  of  the  situation.  Weak,  helpless,  broken-spirited, 
and  very  humble,  he  turned  to  thoughts  of  God.  He  would 
seek  help  from  above. 

Since  his  days  with  Dr.  Roselli  in  London,  he  had  not 
been  in  the  habit  of  going  to  church,  but  he  would  go  to  church 
to-day.  Surely  the  church,  the  old  mother  church,  which  had 
seen  so  many  sorrows,  Avould  have  some  answer  for  a  perplexed 
and  tortured  mind. 

He  walked  along  the  bank  of  the  Tiber,  crossed  the  bridge 
and  came  to  the  great  square  in  front  of  St.  Peter's.  It  was 
very  quiet  and  almost  empty.  The  fountains  were  playing  in 
the  earlj-  morning  sunlight,  the  clock  in  the  cupola  was  chim- 
ing, and  a  Swiss  Guard,  in  his  parti-coloured  uniform,  was 
walking  to  and  fro  with  a  rifle  on  his  shoulder  before  the 
bronze  gate  to  the  Vatican. 

A  cul-de-sac,  cut  off  from  the  stream  of  life  and  the  world, 
leading  to  nothing  but  itself,  and  echoing  only  to  the  boot  of 
the  armed  sentinel,  such  was  the  way  to  the  great  monument 
of  the  church  and  the  home  of  its  anointed  head. 

"  My  God !  My  God  !  What  am  I  to  do  with  this  people  ?  " 
thought  Rossi,  and  in  a  spirit  of  reverent  submission  he  en- 
tered the  Basilica. 

The  great  church  presented  its  usual  morning  aspect — the 


DAVID  EOSSI  219 

marble  floor,  the  glistening  walls,  the  gilded  roof,  the  scarlet 
hangings,  and  the  window  of  the  dove  over  the  altar  in  the  apse, 
glowing  in  the  sunshine  with  the  light  of  an  amber  eye. 

In  the  Chapel  of  the  Chorus,  before  a  few  worshippers  on 
their  knees,  the  canons  were  chanting  their  office  in  weary  and 
monotonous  voices.  When  it  was  over  they  gathered  up  their 
books  and  went  off  briskly,  like  workmen  relieved  at  the  dinner 
hour,  chatting  cheerfully  as  they  passed  into  the  sacristy. 

The  Chapel  of  the  Blessed  Sacrament  was  closed,  but  out- 
side its  iron  gates  a  large  group  of  countrymen  were  kneeling 
with  their  tired  faces  towards  the  altar.  One  of  their  number 
was  reading  a  prayer  and  the  others  were  repeating  the  re- 
sponses. They  were  pilgrims,  who  had  come  for  the  indulgences 
of  the  Holy  Year. 

Before  the  black  statue  of  St.  Peter  another  group  of  pil- 
grims, miserably  clad,  were  passing  one  by  one,  each  of  them 
in  turn  putting  his  lips  and  forehead  to  the  worn  and  pol- 
ished foot.  Their  poor  cheeks  were  thin  and  pinched,  their 
eyes  were  dull  and  lifeless,  but  their  devotion  was  deep  and 
true. 

A  third  group  of  pilgrims  better  dressed  than  the  others, 
the  men  chiefly  in  sheepskins,  the  women  in  black  lace  shawls, 
were  kneeling  about  the  tomb  of  the  apostle.  They  were  peas- 
ants from  a  distant  province,  and  they  were  being  led  by  a 
priest,  who  was  himself  a  peasant,  from  church  to  church  and 
from  relic  to  relic,  that  they  too  might  win  some  exemption 
from  the  pains  of  the  purgatory  waiting  for  all. 

The  arch-priest  of  the  Basilica  passed  across  the  nave  to  the 
sacristy.  As  Secretary  of  State  to  the  Pope,  he  wore  the  scar- 
let robes  of  a  Cardinal,  and  had  a  Monsignor  walking  behind 
him.  The  poor  pilgrims  in  their  miserable  clothes,  with  their 
tired  and  expressionless  faces,  crowded  about  him  and  kissed 
his  ring.  He  allov/ed  them  to  do  so,  but  he  looked  at  few  of 
them  and  spoke  to  none. 

"  My  God !    My  God !    What  am  I  to  do  with  this  people  ?  " 

The  Church  was  giving  no  answer  to  the  cry  ringing  in 
Eossi's  heart.  Devotion,  sincerity,  fervour — all  these  were 
there!  But  the  message  of  the  Church  to  the  human  soul 
— what  was  it?    Fear  I 

Fear  of  God!  Fear  of  Christ!  Fear  of  the  hereafter! 
Fear  of  the  unknown ! 

Such  was  the  beginning  and  end  of  the  message  of  the 
Catholic  Church  to  the  human  soul,  as  Rossi  saw  it  at  that 


220  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

moment,  and  fear  had  no  answer  to  a  heart  that  was  craving 
for  courage  and  strength. 

David  Rossi  returned  home  and  called  for  the  boy  again. 
They  fed  the  squirrels  on  the  roof,  and  going  into  the  great 
cage,  the  canaries  lit  on  them  one  after  another,  until  they 
looked  as  if  they  were  playing  in  an  apple  orchard  and  had 
shaken  the  blossoms  over  their  heads. 

But  when  the  day  closed  in,  and  Rossi  had  seen  little 
Joseph  to  bed,  and  written  his  article  for  next  morning's  paper, 
the  same  irresolution  returned. 

He  went  out  to  walk  in  the  darkness  of  the  streets.  Had 
this  old  city,  which  had  witnessed  so  many  struggles,  no  an- 
swer for  him  anywhere? 

Going  up  to  the  Roman  Forum,  he  walked  along  the  broken 
parapets  until  he  came  under  the  sere  old  mass  of  the  Colise- 
um. The  amphitheatre  was  empty  and  silent.  Not  a  sound 
of  bird  or  beast  or  man  among  the  vast  and  awful  ruins. 
Only  the  faint  rattle  of  wheels  in  the  streets  behind,  the 
thin  tinkle  of  the  electric  trams,  and  the  other  noises  of  far-off 
life.  Dark,  desolate,  long  dead,  like  an  inverted  skull  with 
toothless  jaws  and  eyeless  sockets,  like  the  moon  seen 
through  a  telescope,  charred  and  lifeless,  like  a  crater  whose 
fire  is  spent — such  was  the  great  monument  of  the  old  Pagan 
mother ! 

Fear  was  not  the  religion  of  man  in  her  day !  Men  were  not 
afraid  to  die  then !  This  old  amphitheatre  had  once  heard  the 
trumpets  of  the  grand  entry  of  the  Emperors,  and  rang  with 
the  shouts  of  the  Imperial  people,  and  witnessed  the  intoxica- 
tion of  ferocious  love  when  Roman  ladies  turned  down  their 
inexorable  thumbs  on  the  fallen  and  lost. 

But  what  was  the  message  of  the  Pagan  world  to  the  human 
soul?     Death!     Only  death! 

Wait !  Had  this  old  monument  of  the  dead  centuries  no 
memories  but  those  of  bloody  gladiatorial  spectacles? 

David  Rossi  began  to  think  of  the  martyrs  who  had  died  on 
that  spot,  and  straightway  the  empty  Coliseum  began  to  be 
filled  with  an  audience  of  ghosts.  What  a  power  in  martyr- 
dom !  Roman  Emperors,  Roman  ladies.  Imperial  people — ^what 
were  they  now?  Only  dust  and  ashes.  But  the  martyrs  were 
alive ! 

The  golden  house  of  ISTero  was  gone,  but  that  cross  of  wood 
on  which  the  Saviour  stretched  his  arms  and  died  was  govern- 
ing the  world  still !    To  die,  not  for  your  friends  only,  but  for 


DAVID   ROSSI  221 

your  enemies  also,  that  was  the  great  secret !     And  life — life 
by  martyrdom — that  was  the  message  of  Christ ! 

As  Rossi  thought  of  this  a  voice,  at  first  very  faint,  seemed 
to  speak  within  him,  and  he  saw,  in  an  instant,  as  by  a  flash  of 
light,  what  he  ought  to  do  in  the  Chamber  of  Deputies  the  fol- 
lowing day.  He  could  see  himself  doing  it,  and  the  hair  of  his 
head  stood  up. 

XIV 

Before  going  to  bed  that  night  Rossi  replied  to  Roma : 

My  Dearest, — Bruno  will  take  this  letter,  and  I  will  charge 
him  on  his  soul  to  deliver  it  safely  into  your  hands.  When  you 
have  read  it,  you  will  destroy  it  immediately,  both  for  your  sake 
and  my  own. 

"  From  this  moment  onward  I  throw  away  all  disguises. 
The  duplicities  of  love  are  sweet  and  touching,  but  I  cannot 
play  hide-and-seek  with  you  any  longer. 

"  You  are  right — it  is  you  that  I  love,  and  little  as  I  under- 
stand and  deserve  it,  I  see  now  that  you  love  me  with  all  your 
soul  and  strength.  I  cannot  keep  my  pen  from  writing  it,  and 
yet  it  is  madness  to  do  so,  for  the  obstacles  to  our  union  are 
just  as  insurmountable  as  before. 

"  It  is  not  only  my  unflinching  devotion  to  public  work  that 
separates  us,  though  that  is  a  serious  impediment;  it  is  not 
only  the  inequality  of  our  birth  and  social  conditions,  though 
that  is  an  honest  difiiculty.  The  barrier  between  us  is  not 
merely  a  barrier  made  by  man,  it  is  a  barrier  made  by  God — it 
is  death. 

"  Think  what  that  would  be  in  the  ordinafy  case  of  death  by 
disease.  A  man  is  doomed  to  die  by  cancer  or  consumption,  and 
even  while  he  is  engaged  in  a  desperate  struggle  with  the 
mightiest  and  most  relentless  conqueror,  love  comes  to  him  with 
its  dreams  of  life  and  happiness.  What  then?  Every  hour  of 
joy  is  poisoned  for  him  henceforth  by  visions  of  the  end  that  is 
so  near,  in  every  embrace  he  feels  the  arms  of  death  about  him, 
and  in  every  kiss  the  chill  breath  of  the  tomb. 

"  Terrible  tragedy !  Yet  not  without  relief.  N'ature  is 
kind.  Her  miracles  are  never  ending.  Hope  lives  to  the  last. 
The  balm  of  God's  healing  hand  may  come  down  from  heaven 
and  make  all  things  well.  Not  so  the  death  I  speak  of.  It  is 
pitiless  and  inevitable,  without  hope  or  dreams. 


222  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Remember  what  I  told  you  in  this  room  on  the  night  you 
came  here  first.  Had  you  forgotten  it  ?  Your  father,  charged 
with  an  attempt  at  regicide,  as  part  of  a  plan  of  insurrection, 
was  deported  without  trial,  and  I,  who  shared  his  vietvs,  and 
had  expressed  them  in  letters  that  were  violated,  being  outside 
the  jurisdiction  of  the  courts,  was  tried  in  contumacy  and  con- 
demned to  death. 

"  I  am  back  in  Italy  for  all  that,  under  another  name,  my 
mother's  name,  which  is  my  name,  too,  thanks  to  the  merciless 
marriage  laws  of  my  country,  with  other  aims  and  other 
opinions,  but  I  have  never  deceived  myself  for  a  moment. 
The  same  doom  hangs  over  me  still,  and  though  the  court 
which  condemned  me  was  a  military  court,  and  its  sentence 
would  be  modified  by  a  Court  of  Assize,  I  see  no  difference  be- 
tween death  in  a  moment  on  the  gallows,  and  in  five,  ten,  twenty 
years  in  a  cell. 

"  What  am  I  to  do  ?  I  love  you,  you  love  me.  Shall  I,  like 
the  poor  consumptive,  to  whom  gleams  of  happiness  have  come 
too  late,  conceal  everything  and  go  on  deluding  myself  with 
hopes,  indulging  myself  with  dreams?  It  would  be  unpardon- 
able, it  would  be  cruel,  it  would  be  wrong  and  wicked. 

"  jN^o,  it  is  impossible.  You  cannot  but  be  aware  that  my 
life  or  liberty  are  in  serious  jeopardy,  and  that  my  place  in 
Parliament  and  in  public  life  is  in  constant  and  hourly  peril. 
Every  letter  that  you  have  written  to  me  shows  plainly  that  you 
know  it.  And  when  you  say  your  heart's  blood  runs  cold  at  the 
thought  of  what  may  happen  when  Minghelli  returns  from 
England,  you  betray  the  weakness,  the  natural  weakness,  the 
tender  and  womanly  weakness,  Avhich  justifies  me  in  saying 
that  as  long  as  we  love  each  other,  you  and  I  should  never  meet 
again.  • 

"  Don't  think  that  I  am  a  coward  and  tremble  at  the  death 
that  hangs  over  me.  I  neither  fear  the  future  nor  regret  the 
past.  In  every  true  cause  some  one  is  called  to  martyrdom.  To 
die  for  the  right,  for  humanity,  to  lay  down  all  you  hold  most 
dear  for  the  sake  of  the  poor  and  the  weak  and  the  down-trod- 
den and  God's  holy  justice — it  is  a  magnificent  duty*,  a  privi- 
lege !  And  I  am  ready.  If  my  death  is  enough,  let  me  give  the 
last  drop  of  my  blood,  and  be  dragged  through  the  last  degrees 
of  infamy.  Only  don't  let  me  drag  another  after  me,  and  en- 
danger a  life  that  is  a  thousand  times  dearer  to  me  than 
my  own. 

"  What  am  I  ?     I  am  a  man  under  God's  hand  from  his 


DAVID  ROSSI  223 

cradle  upwards,  and  I  do  not  complain,  for  he  whom  God's  hiuid 
rests  on  has  God  at  his  rig^t  hand.  He  wished  me  to  give  my- 
self. He  called  me  with  a  baptism  as  of  fire  to  my  work,  and  to 
help  me  to  do  it  He  took  away  from  me  family  and  kindred  and 
friends  and  home.  Shall  love  come  at  the  last  and  hold  me 
back? 

"  It  would  do  that  and  more — far  more.  I  want  you, 
dearest,  I  want  you  with  my  soul,  but  my  doom  is  certain,  it 
waits  for  me  somewhere,  it  may  be  here,  it  may  be  there,  it  may 
come  to  me  to-morrow,  or  next  day,  or  next  year,  but  it  is  com- 
ing, I  feel  it,  I  am  sure  of  it,  and  I  will  not  fly  away.  But  if  I 
go  on  imtil  my  beloved  is  my  bride,  and  my  name  is  stamped  all 
over  her,  and  she  has  taken  up  my  fate,  and  Ave  are  one,  and  the 
world  knows  no  diiference,  what  then?  Then  death  with  its 
sure  step  will  come  in  to  separate  us,  and  after  death  for  me, 
danger,  shame,  poverty  for  you,  all  the  penalties  a  woman  pays 
for  her  devotion  to  a  man  who  is  down  and  done. 

"  I  couldn't  bear  it.  The  very  thought  of  it  would  unman 
me.  It  would  turn  heaven  into  hell.  It  would  disturb  the 
repose  of  the  grave  itself. 

"  Isn't  it  hard  enough  to  do  what  is  before  me  without  tor- 
menting myself  with  thoughts  like  these?  It  is  true  I  have 
had  my  dreams  like  other  men — dreams  of  the  woman  whom 
Heaven  might  give  a  man  for  his  support — the  anchor  to  which 
his  soul  might  hold  in  storm  and  tempest,  and  in  the  very  hour 
of  death  itself.  But  what  w^oman  is  equal  to  a  lot  like  that? 
Martyrdom  is  for  man.    God  keep  all  women  safe  from  it ! 

"  Have  I  said  sufficient  ?  If  this  letter  gives  you  half  the 
pain  on  reading  it  that  I  have  felt  in  writing  it,  you  will  be 
satisfied  at  last  that  the  obstacles  to  our  union  are  permanent 
and  insuperable.  The  time  is  come  when  I  am  forced  to  tell 
you  the  secrets  which  I  have  never  before  revealed  to  any  hu- 
man soul.  You  know  them  now\  They  are  in  your  keeping, 
and  it  is  enough. 

"  I  do  not  send  you  the  cards  for  the  Chamber,  because  for 
reasons  of  my  own  I  could  wish  you  not  to  come — not  to- 
morrow at  all  events. 

"  Heaven  be  over  you !  And  when  you  are  reconciled  to  our 
separation,  and  both  of  us  are  strong,  remember  that  if  you 
want  me  I  will  come,  and  that  as  long  as  I  live,  as  long  as  I  am 
at  liberty,  I  shall  be  always  ready,  always  waiting,  always  near. 
God  bless  you,  my  dear  one !    Adieu !  David  Leone." 


224  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 


XV 


Long  before  ten  o'clock  next  morning  the  little  streets 
around  the  House  of  Parliament  were  blocked  with  excited 
crowds.  The  piazza  in  front  was  kept  open  by  a  cordon  of 
soldiers,  and  lines  of  Carabineers  were  posted  down  the  prin- 
cipal thoroughfares  to  clear  a  passage  for  the  deputies. 

Inside  the  Chamber  the  excitement  was  yet  more  intense. 
As  early  as  half-past  nine  members  had  begun  to  gather  in  the 
corridors.  The  little  company  of  lifty  men  who  constituted  the 
Extreme  Left  were  walking,  most  of  them  bareheaded,  in  the 
courtyard  out  of  the  principal  lobby.  David  Rossi  was  not 
yet  among  them,  and  they  were  looking  alternately  at  their 
watches  and  at  the  door  leading  from  the  entrance  hall.  At 
two  minutes  to  ten  their  leader  was  still  absent,  and  they  be- 
gan to  glance  into  each  other's  faces  with  looks  of  relief 
and  hope. 

"  He'll  not  come  now,"  said  one.  "  Thank  God !  "  said  an- 
other, and  they  turned  to  go  to  their  places. 

Meantime  the  larger  party  that  followed  the  Government 
had  been  gathering  in  agitated  groups  and  talking  in  bated 
breath.  The  talk  was,  that  the  Prime  Minister,  who  had  eyes 
everywhere,  had  found  out  something.  As  a  result,  he  had  gone 
to  the  Quirinal  early  this  morning  and  held  counsel  with  the 
King.  Then,  coming  down  to  the  House,  he  had  sent  for  the 
President  and  communicated  some  command  of  His  Majesty. 
After  that  he  had  sent  for  the  Minister  of  War,  and  immedi- 
ately afterwards  two  companies  of  infantry  had  been  called 
up.    They  were  in  the  House  now. 

When  the  clock  struck  ten  the  Ministerial  party  trooped 
into  the  Chamber,  and  in  a  moment  the  corridors  were  empty. 

The  Baron  Bonelli  was  then  in  the  Presidential  room  at  the 
top  of  the  great  staircase.  He  was  perfectly  calm  and  self- 
possessed,  and  wore  the  usual  flower  in  his  buttonhole.  The 
Questore  (the  Sergeant  of  the  House)  had  come  to  say  the 
President  was  about  to  take  his  seat,  when  one  of  the  ushers, 
with  the  tri-coloured  badge,  brought  in  a  card  on  which  a 
message  was  written. 

"  Bring  the  lady  up  at  once,"  said  the  Baron. 

The  lady  was  Roma,  and  the  Baron  met  her  at  the  door. 

"  This  is  like  old  times,"  he  said.  "  But  why  are  you  here 
to-day,  my  child  ?  " 

"  Why  not  to-day  ?  "  she  asked. 


DAVID  ROSSI  225 

"  Because  ...  to  tell  you  the  truth,  there  may  be  trouble. 
Your  friend,  Pontifex  Maximus  of  the  Piazza  Xavona,  is 
credited  with  a  desire  to  create  a  disturbance.  In  any  case  the 
sitting  may  be  disagreeable,  and  I  advise  you  to  go  home." 

"  But  you  excite  my  interest  beyond  expression,  and  I  would 
not  go  home  for  worlds,"  said  Roma. 

"  As  you  please,"  said  the  Baron,  leading  the  way  to  the 
entrance  to  the  gallery,  and  chatting  on  other  subjects.  How 
lovely  she  looked  this  morning!  Was  he  never  to  see  her  any 
more  alone  ?  Surely  he  had  waited  long  enough.  There  was  an 
important  matter  which  they  had  never  yet  cleared  up.  When 
should  he  call  ? 

"  I  have  a  reception  to-morrow  afternoon  to  show  my  foun- 
tain and  studies  and  so  forth,"  said  Roma. 

"  I  will  be  there,"  said  the  Baron,  and  he  kissed  her  hand 
and  left  her. 

The  door  of  the  gallery  had  closed,  and  the  Minister  was 
turning  to  go  into  the  Chamber,  when  he  came  face  to  face  with 
David  Rossi,  who  was  hurrying  to  his  seat.  By  a  sudden  im- 
pulse he  stopped  and  spoke  to  him. 

"  Mr.  Rossi,"  he  said,  in  his  quiet,  incisive  accents,  "  if  you 
will  take  the  advice  of  an  adversary,  you  will  be  careful  about 
what  you  do  to-day.  Permit  me  to  tell  you  that  you  stand  on 
the  edge  of  a  precipice;  and  if  you  have  no  regard  for  your  own 
life  and  liberty,  you  ought  at  least  to  respect  the  dignity  of 
this  Chamber  in  the  eyes  of  Europe." 

The  two  men  were  alone  in  the  lobby,  and  the  Minister 
waited  a  moment  for  a  reply,  but  David  Rossi  only  bowed  and 
passed  on. 

Through  her  white  kid  glove  the  kiss  of  the  Baron's  lips 
was  still  stinging  on  Roma's  hand,  and  she  was  blushing  with 
shame  at  a  certain  sense  of  her  own  insincerity  when  the  usher 
in  attendance  showed  her  into  the  Court  tribune.  The  little 
Princess  was  there  already,  with  Don  Camillo  and  a  foreign 
acquaintance.  All  the  galleries  were  crowded,  and  nearly  every 
seat  below  was  occupied.  The  sun  was  shining  through  the 
cupola  and  the  heat  was  already  very  great. 

Full  as  the  House  was,  there  was  a  strange  silence.  Xo 
laughter,  no  joking,  no  talking,  no  saluting  of  the  ladies  in  the 
tribunes.  Only  a  restless  turning  to  the  clock  under  the  re- 
porters' gallery,  and  the  swish  of  the  large  leaves  of  a  square 
pamphlet  which  lay  on  every  desk,  headed  "  Chamber  of  Depu- 
ties.   Project  of  Law  presented  by  the  Minister  of  the  Interior 


226  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

(Bonelli),  together  with  the  Minister  of  War  (Morra),  for  the 
better  security  of  the  public." 

Don  Camillo  was  pointing  out  the  deputies  to  his  foreign 
friend. 

"  Those  are  the  Ministers  on  the  bench  under  the  Presi- 
dent's chair — '  the  bench  of  the  accused '  the  Eadicals  call  it. 
Solemn-looking?  Yes,  solemn  as  owls.  When  a  man  becomes 
a  Minister  his  laughing  days  are  over,  fhe  Prime  Minister? 
JSTot  in  yet.  Ah,  there  he  is !  That's  Bonelli  coming  in  now. 
Firm  face,  you  say?  Looks  as  if  it  had  been  moulded  in  iron 
and  then  twisted  awry.  Means  mischief  this  morning,  it  seems 
to  me." 

"  Will  you  lend  me  your  opera-glass,  Gi-gi  ?  "  said  Roma. 

])avid  Rossi  had  also  entered  the  House,  and  Roma  scanned 
his  face  closely.    It  was  ashen  pale. 

"  I  will  make  him  look  up,"  thought  Roma,  and  she  gazed 
steadfastly  down  at  him.  Presently  his  eyes  rose  to  the  Court 
tribiuie  for  a  moment.  She  knew  that  he  saw  her,  for  his  lips 
twitched,  and  the  fingers  that  played  with  his  watch-chain 
trembled.  The  opera-glass  almost  fell  out  of  her  hands.  She 
was  in  a  fever  of  excitement. 

At  five  minutes  after  ten  the  President  entered  the  Cham- 
ber, followed  by  his  secretaries.  He  took  his  seat  in  silence,  and 
in  silence  he  rang  his  bell. 

"  The  sitting  has  begun,"  he  said. 

The  minutes  of  the  day  were  read  in  a  loud,  clear  voice,  but 
nobody  heard  them,  because  nobody  listened.  Then  the  Prime 
Minister  rpse  to  move  the  first  reading  of  his  bill  for  the  better 
security  of  the  public,  and  the  silence  was  as  the  silence  of  a 
glacier.  Beating  every  word  with  his  fist  on  the  table,  he  said 
the  conditions  were  urgent,  and  therefore  it  was  the  will  of  the 
King  and  the  desire  of  the  Government  that  the  vote  should  be 
taken  without  debate. 

Immediately  two  or  three  members  rose  on  the  Left  and 
cried,  "I  ask  permission  to  speak."  But  the  President,  pre- 
tending not  to  hear  or  see  them,  rang  his  bell  and  put  the 
question. 

"  I  ask  to  speak,"  cried  a  dozen  shrill  voices  from  the  Left, 
but  at  the  same  moment  a  hundred  voices  on  the  Right  roared 
"Vote!" 

"  Those  who  are  in  favour  say  *  Aye,'  "  said  the  President. 

"  Aye  "  shouted  two  hundred  and  fifty  voices  at  once. 

"  I  ask  to  speak !  "  cried  another  hysterical  voice  on  the  Left. 


DAVID   ROSSI  227 

"  Those  who  are  against  say  *  !No  '  "  said  the  President. 

"  I  ask  to  speak !    I  ask  to  speak !  " 

"  I  think  the  '  Ayes '  have  it,  the  '  Ayes '  have  it,"  said  the 
President,  and  then  there  was  a  terrific  clamour.  The  Left 
stood  up  in  a  body  and  shouted  their  protests  at  the  Presi- 
dent. 

"  It's  illegal !  "  *'  It's  null  and  void !  "  "  It's  against  the 
statute !  " 

The  Prime  Minister  rose  again,  and  straightway  he  became 
the  target  for  a  volley  of  insults. 

"  Traitor!  "  "  Scoundrel!  "  "  Accidenti! "  "  A  fit  take  you." 

In  the  midst  of  this  uproar,  from  her  place  in  the  tribune, 
Koma  distinctly  saw,  amid  the  swaying  of  arms  and  the  shaking 
of  fists,  the  glint  of  revolvers.  Under  cover  of  the  commotion 
two  men  on  the  Left  had  drawn  their  weapons  and  were  prepar- 
ing to  fire  at  the  Baron.  He  would  be  killed.  Would  nobody 
stop  them  ?    Did  no  one  see  them  except  herseK  ? 

Koma  found  herself  on  her  feet,  trying  to  cry  out  but  unable 
to  do  so,  when  suddenly  something  else  happened.  David  Rossi 
stepped  out  of  his  place  and  stood  directly  between  the  Baron 
and  the  men  with  the  revolvers. 

Roma  screamed  and  felt  herself  falling  forward.  The 
uproar  seemed  to  fade  away,  her  eyes  became  dazed,  darkness 
and  silence  came  in  one  stride  over  the  palpitating  light  and 
deafening  noise,  she  heard  her  own  name  spoken  above  her,  and 
then  all  was  gone. 

When  David  Rossi  at  the  height  of  the  tumult  stepped  into 
the  open  space  on  the  floor  between  the  bench  of  the  Ministers 
and  the  first  row  of  desks,  and  covered  the  Baron  with  his  larger 
figure,  his  own  people  knew  perfectly  what  he  was  doing.  Of  all 
the  courses  they  had  counted  on  this  was  the  last — that  he 
should  prevent  the  execution  of  their  threat  to  kill  the  Prime 
Minister  by  making  it  necessary  that  ifi  order  to  do  so  they 
must  first  kill  him. 

In  their  bewilderment  at  this  act  their  voices  failed  them  in 
an  instant,  and  there  was  a  moment  of  breathless  silence.  But 
the  larger  party  on  the  Right  misunderstood  both  Rossi's 
action  and  its  effect  on  his  followers,  and  seeing  a  man  standing 
with  his  back  immediately  before  a  Minister  who  was  on  his 
feet,  waiting  to  speak,  they  leapt  to  the  conclusion  that  a  low- 
bred insult  was  intended,  and  with  one  accord  they  arose  and 
shouted  at  the  offender. 

The  Left  recovered  from  their  surprise  at  seeing  this  error. 


228  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

and  replied  to  their  adversaries  with  howls  of  indignant  de- 
rision. The  scene  that  followed  was  only  one  stage  removed 
from  bedlam. 

"  Gutter  snipe !  "  "  Jail  bird !  "  "  Scum  of  the  poorhouse !  " 
cried  the  Right. 

"  Fools !  "  "  Asses !  "  cried  the  Left. 

Meantime  David  Rossi  continued  to  stand  before  the  Baron, 
with  his  face  towards  his  own  people,  and  one  by  one  they 
turned  away  from  him  and  trooped  out  of  the  House. 

"  Long  live  the  Republic !  "  they  shouted  as  they  went. 

"  Long  live  the  King !  "  replied  their  adversaries. 

When  the  seats  on  the  Left  were  entirely  empty,  the  clamour 
on  the  Right  subsided,  and  the  bell  of  the  President  began  to  be 
heard.  Then,  as  Rossi  was  about  to  follow  his  people,  the 
Baron  touched  him  on  the  shoulder  and  said,  with  a  flushed 
face,  in  a  bitter  whisper : 

"  Honourable,  when  you  wish  to  insult  me  again,  be  good 
enough  to  choose  some  other  method  than  standing  between 
me  and  my  Parliament." 

XVI 

Out  in  the  corridor  one  of  the  ushers  was  hurrying  along 
with  a  glass  of  water  and  a  bottle  of  brandy. 

"  What's  amiss  ?  "  asked  some  one. 

"  A  lady  is  ill,"  the  usher  answered.  "  She  has  been  carried 
up  to  the  Presidential  drawing-room." 

"Who  is  it?" 

"  Donna  Roma." 

The  man  who  had  just  now  stood  to  be  shot  at  turned  white 
as  a  sheet  and  trembled  violently.  He  ran  upstairs  in  front  of 
the  usher,  three  steps  at  a  time. 

Before  a  door  of  a  room  at  the  head  of  the  great  staircase 
a  group  of  servants  were  huddled  together.  Rossi  would  have 
pushed  through,  but  they  stopped  him. 

"  Sorry,  Honourable,"  said  the  doorkeeper.  "  I  have  orders 
to  admit  nobody." 

At  that  instant  the  Prime  Minister  came  up  with  a  quick 
step,  whereupon  the  doorkeeper  fell  aside,  and  the  Baron  passed 
into  the  room. 

Rossi  felt  an  impulse  to  push  the  ushers  away,  but  his  frame, 
strung  like  a  bow  a  moment  ago,  was  now  relaxed  and  power- 
less.   He  would  have  given  all  the  world  to  do  the  least  thing 


DAVID   ROSSI  229 

for  Roma  at  that  moment,  the  very  least  little  thing,  but  he  was 
kept  out  and  could  do  nothing. 

With  a  scared  look  he  was  glancing  through  the  open  door 
and  hearing  voices  from  an  inner  chamber  when  his  colleague, 
the  Doctor,  came  out  of  the  room. 

"  What  is  it,  in  Heaven's  name  ?  "  he  asked  in  a  husky  whis- 
per.   "  Is  she  ill  ?    Is  she  better  ?  " 

■■'  Oh,  yes." 

"Thank  God!  Oh,  thank  God!"  he  said,  choking  with 
emotion  and  laying  hold  of  his  colleague's  arm. 

The  Doctor  looked  at  him  and  smiled. 

"  Wh^,  it  was  nothing,"  he  said.  "  A  fainting  fit,  that's  all. 
The  heat  and  the  noise  and  .  ,  ." 

"  Are  you  sure  it's  nothing  worse  ?  Hadn't  you  better  go 
back  and  stay  with  her  a  little  longer  ?  " 

"  Tut !  I  didn't  think,  old  fellow,  that  you  could  be  fright- 
ened at  .  .  ." 

"  Tes,  yes,  but  a  woman,  you  know — one  can't  bear  that  a 
woman  .  .  ." 

The  big,  bluff  doctor  grew  red  about  the  eyes  and  his  voice 
thickened  with  unwonted  feeling. 

"  By  God,  Rossi,  you're  a  man.  I  saw  what  you  did  five 
minutes  ago,  and  now  .  .  .  Stay  here;  she'll  be  out  presently. 
God  bless  you,  old  chap !  " 

Then  David  Rossi  heard  the  rustle  of  a  woman's  dress, 
and  the  voice  of  somebody  speaking,  soothingly,  lovingly, 
almost  familiarly.  But  he  turned  away  from  the  door  and 
a  perfume  that  he  knew  followed  him  as  he  passed  up  the 
stairs. 

From  the  library  on  the  third  floor  he  looked  down  to  the 
piazza.  Roma's  carriage  was  waiting  by  the  portico,  and  pres- 
ently Roma  herself  got  into  it,  half  supported  by  the  Baron, 
who  was  bareheaded  and  smiling.  She  was  very  pale,  but  she 
smiled  back  at  him  as  she  sank  into  her  seat. 

David  Rossi  would  have  given  his  soul  for  that  smile.  He 
went  home  with  a  tortured  mind. 

"  What  have  I  done  ? "  he  thought.  "  I  hate  that  man,  I 
want  him  dead,  yet  I  have  saved  his  life !  What  is  the  re- 
sult? I  have  thrown  Roma  back  into  his  hands.  That  is  all 
it  comes  to,  and  I  have  lied  against  my  oicn  heart!  " 

Half  an  hour  after  he  reached  the  Piazza  Xavona.  a  letter 
came  by  a  flying  messenger  on  a  bicycle.  It  was  written  in 
pencil  and  in  large  straggling  characters. 


230  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Dear  Mr.  Rossi, — Your  letter  has  arrived  and  been  read, 
and,  yes,  it  has  been  destroyed,  too,  according  to  your  wish, 
although  the  flames  that  burnt  it  burnt  my  hand  also,  and 
scorched  ray  heart  as  well. 

"  JSTo  doubt  you  have  done  wisely.  You  know  better  than  I 
do  what  is  best  for  both  of  us,  and  I  yield,  I  submit.  Only — 
and  therefore- — I  must  see  you  immediately.  There  is  a  mat- 
ter of  some  consequence  on  which  I  wish  to  speak.  It  has 
nothing  to  do  with  the  subject  of  your  letter — nothing  directly, 
at  all  events — nor  yet  is  it  in  any  way  related  to  the  Minghelli 
mischief-making.  So  you  may  receive  me  without  fear.  And 
yoTi  will  find  me  with  a  heart  at  ease.  * 

"  Didn't  I  tell  you  that  if  you  wouldn't  come  to  me  I  must 
go  to  you  ?  Expect  me  this  evening  about  Ave  Maria,  and  ar- 
range it  that  T  may  sec  you  alone.  Roma  V. 

"  P.S. — J  saw  and  I  understood  what  you  did  in  the  Cham- 
ber to-day,  but  I  suppose  that  f(n'  your  people's  sake  I  must 
neither  speak  nor  think  of  it." 


XVIT 

As  Ave  Maria  approached,  David  Rossi  became  still  more 
agitated.  The  sky  had  darkened,  but  there  was  no  wind;  the 
air  was  empty,  and  he  listened  with  strained  attention  for  every 
sound  from  the  staircase  and  the  street.  At  length  he  heard 
a  cab  stop  at  the  door,  and  a  moment  afterwards  a  light  hurry- 
ing footstep  in  the  outer  room  seemed  to  beat  upon  his  heart. 

The  door  opened  and  Roma  came  in  quickly,  with  a  scarcely 
audible  salutation.  He  saw  her  with  her  golden  complexion 
and  her  large  violet  eyes,  wearing  a  black  hat  and  an  astrachan 
coat,  but  his  head  was  going  round  and  his  pulses  were  beat- 
ing violently,  and  he  could  not  control  his  eyes. 

"  I  have  come  for  a  minute  only,"  she  said.  "  You  received 
my  letter  ? " 

Rossi  bent  his  head. 

"  David,  I  want  the  fulfilment  of  your  promise." 

"What  promise?" 

"  The  promise  to  come  to  me  when  I  stand  in  need  of  you. 
I  need  you  now.  My  fountain  is  practically  finished,  and  to- 
morrow afternoon  I  am  to  have  a  reception  to  exhibit  it.  Every- 
body will  be  there,  and  I  want  you  to  be  present  also." 

"  Is  that  necessary  ?  "  he  asked. 


DAVID  EOSSI  231 

"  For  my  purposes,  yes.  Don't  ask  me  why.  Don't  question 
me  at  all.    Only  trust  me  and  come." 

She  was  speaking  in  a  firm  and  rapid  voice,  and  looking  up 
he  saw  that  her  brows  were  contracted,  her  lips  were  set,  her 
cheeks  were  slightly  flushed,  and  her  eyes  were  shining.  He 
had  never  seen  her  like  that  before.  "  What  is  the  secret  of  it  ?  " 
he  asked  himself,  but  he  only  answered,  after  a  brief  pause : 

"  Very  well,  I  will  be  there." 

"  That's  all.  I  might  have  written,  but  I  was  afraid  you 
might  object,  and  I  wished  to  make  quite  certain.    Adieu !  " 

He  had  only  bowed  to  her  as  she  entered,  /ind  now  she  was 
going  away  without  offering  her  hand. 

"  Roma,"  he  said,  in  a  voice  that  sounded  choked. 

She  stopped  but  did  not  speak,  and  he  felt  himself  growing 
hot  all  over. 

"  I'm  relieved — so  nnich  relieved — to  hear  that  you  agree 
with  what  I  said  in  my  letter." 

"  The  last — in  which  you  wish  me  to  forget  you  ?  " 

"  It  is  better  so — far  better.  I  am  one  of  those  who  think 
that  if  either  party  to  a  marriage  " — he  was  talking  in  a  con- 
strained way — "  entertains  beforehand  any  rational  doubt 
about  it,  he  is  wiser  to  withdraw,  even  at  the  church  door, 
rather  than  set  out  on  a  life-long  voyage  under  doubtful  aus- 
pices." 

"  Ah,  well !  "  she  said,  taking  a  long  breath  and  turning 
a  little  away. 

"  But  don't  think  I  shall  not  suffer  in  parting  from  you, 
Roma.  Thy  will  he  done.  There  are  moments  in  life  when  it 
isn't  easy  to  say  that.  At  least  I  can  pray  that  you  may  be 
happy — and  perhaps  in  eternity  .  .  ." 

"  Didn't  we  promise  not  to  speak  of  this  ? "  she  said  impa- 
tiently. Then  their  eyes  met  for  a  moment,  and  he  knew  that 
he  was  false  to  himself  and  that  his  talk  of  renunciation  was  a 
mockery. 

"  Roma,"  he  said  again,  "  if  you  want  me  in  the  future  you 
must  write." 

Her  face  clouded  over. 

"  For  your  own  sake,  you  know  ..." 

"  Oh,  that !    That's  nothing  at  all — nothing  now." 

"  But  people  are  insulting  me  about  you  and  .  .  ." 

"Well— and  you?" 

The  colour  rushed  to  his  cheeks  and  he  smote  the  back  of  a 
chair  with  his  clenched  fist. 


232  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

"  I  tell  them  .  .  ." 

"  I  understand,"  she  said,  and  her  eyes  began  to  shine  again. 
But  she  only  turned  away,  saying :  "  I'm  sorry  you  are  angry 
that  I  came." 

"  Angry !  "  he  cried,  and  at  the  sound  of  his  voice  as  he  said 
the  word  their  love  for  each  other  went  thrilling  through  and 
through  them. 

The  rain  had  begun  to  fall,  and  it  was  beating  with  smart 
strokes  on  the  window  panes. 

"  You  can't  go  now,"  he  said,  "  and  since  you  are  never  to 
come  here  again  there  is  something  you  ought  to  hear," 

She  took  a  seat  immediately,  unfastened  her  coat,  and 
slipped  it  back  on  to  her  shoulders. 

The  thick-falling  drops  were  drenching  the  piazza,  and  its 
pavement  was  bubbling  like  a  lake. 

"  The  rain  will  last  for  some  time,"  said  Rossi,  looking  out, 
"  and  the  matter  I  speak  of  is  one  of  some  urgency,  therefore 
it  is  better  that  you  should  hear  it  now." 

Taking  the  pins  out  of  her  hat,  Roma  lifted  it  off  and  laid  it 
in  her  lap,  and  began  to  pull  off  her  gloves.  The  noble  young 
head  with  its  glossy  hair  and  lovely  face  shone  out  with  a  new 
beauty. 

Rossi  hardly  dared  to  look  at  her.  He  was  afraid  that  if 
he  allowed  himself  to  do  so  he  would  fling  himself  at  her 
feet.  "  How  calm  she  is,"  he  thought.  "  What  is  the  mean- 
ing of  it  ?  " 

He  went  to  the  bureau  by  the  wall  and  took  out  a  small 
round  packet. 

"  Do  you  remember  your  father's  voice?  "  he  asked. 

"  That  is  all  I  do  remember  about  my  father.    Why  ? " 

"  It  is  here  in  this  cylinder." 

She  rose  quickly  and  then  slowly  sat  down  again. 

"  Tell  me,"  she  said. 

"  When  your  father  was  deported  to  the  island  of  Elba,  he 
was  a  prisoner  at  large,  without  personal  restraint  but  under 
police  supervision.  The  legal  term  of  domicilio  coatto  is  from 
one  year  to  five,  but  excuses  were  found  and  his  banishment 
was  made  perpetual.  He  saw  prisoners  come  and  go,  and  in  the 
sealed  chamber  of  his  tomb  he  heard  echoes  of  the  world  out- 
side." 

"  Did  he  ever  hear  of  me?  " 

"  Yes,  and  of  myself  as  well.  A  prisoner  brought  him  news 
of  one  David  Rossi,  and  under  that  name  and  the  opinions 


DAVID   ROSSI  233 

attached  to  it  he  recognised  David  Leone,  the  boy  he  had 
brought  up  and  educated.    He  wished  to  send  me  a  message." 

"  Was  it  about  ..." 

"  Yes.  The  letters  of  prisoners  are  read  and  copied,  and 
to  smuggle  out  by  hand  a  written  document  is  difficult  or 
impossible.  But  at  length  a  way  was.  discovered.  Some  one 
sent  a  phonograph  and  a  box  of  cylinders  to  one  of  the  pris- 
oners, and  the  little  colony  of  exiled  ones  used  to  meet  at  your 
father's  house  to  hear  the  music.  Among  the  cylinders  were 
certain  blank  ones.  Your  father  spoke  on  to  one  of  them,  and 
when  the  time  came  for  the  owner  of  the  phonograph  to  leave 
Elba,  he  brought  the  cylinder  back  with  him.  This  is  the 
cylinder  your  father  spoke  on  to." 

With  an  involuntary  shudder  she  took  out  of  his  hands  a 
circular  cardboard-box,  marked  in  print  on  the  outside :  "  Se- 
lections from  Faust,"  and  in  pencil  on  the  inside  of  the  lid: 
"  For  the  hands  of  D.  L.  only — to  be  destroyed  if  Deputy  David 
Rossi  does  not  know  where  to  find  him." 

The  heavy  rain  had  darkened  the  room,  but  by  the  red 
light  of  a  dying  fire  he  could  see  that  her  face  had  turned 
white. 

"  And  this  contains  my  fathers  voice,"  she  said. 

"  His  last  message." 

"  He  is  dead — two  years  dead — and  yet  .  .  ." 

"  Can  you  bear  to  hear  it  ?  " 

"  Go  on,"  she  said,  hardly  audibly. 

He  took  back  the  cylinder,  put  it  on  the  phonograph,  wound 
up  the  instrument,  and  touched  the  lever.  Through  the  strokes 
of  the  rain,  lashing  the  window  like  a  hundred  whips,  the  whiz- 
zing noise  of  the  machine  began. 

He  was  standing  by  her  side,  and  he  felt  her  hand  on 
his  arm. 

Then  through  the  sound  of  the  rain  and  of  the  phonograph 
there  came  a  clear,  full  voice: 

"  David  Leone — your  old  friend  Doctor  Eoselli  sends  you 
his  dying  message  .  .  ." 

The  hand  on  Rossi's  arm  clutched  it  convulsively,  and,  in 
a  choking  whisper,  Roma  said : 

"  Wait !     Give  me  one  moment." 

She  was  looking  around  the  darkening  room  as  if  almost 
expecting  a  ghostly  presence. 

She  bowed  her  Ijead.    Her  breath  came  quick  and  fast. 

"  I  am  better  now.    Go  on,"  she  said. 
16 


234  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

The  whirring  noise  began  again,  and  after  a  moment  the 
clear  voice  came  as  before : 

"  My  son,  the  promise  I  made  when  we  parted  in  London  I 
fulfilled  faithfully,  but  the  letter  I  write  to  you  never  came  to 
your  hands.  It  was  meant  to  tell  you  who  I  was,  and  why  I 
changed  my  name.  That  is  too  long  a  story  now,  and  I  must 
be  brief.  I  am  Prospero  Volonna.  My  father  was  the  last 
prince  of  that  name.  Except  the  authorities  and  their  spies, 
nobody  in  Italy  knows  me  as  Roselli  and  nobody  in  England  as 
Volonna — nobody  but  one,  my  poor  dear  child,  my  daughter 
Roma." 

The  hand  tightened  on  Rossi's  arm,  and  his  head  began  to 
swim. 

"  Little  by  little,  in  this  grave  of  a  living  man,  I  have  heard 
what  has  happened  since  I  was  banished  from  the  world.  The 
treacherous  letter  which  called  me  back  to  Italy  and  decoyed 
me  into  the  hands  of  the  police  was  the  work  of  the  man  who 
now  holds  my  estates  as  the  payment  for  his  treachery." 

"  The  Baron  ?  " 

Rossi  had  stopped  the  phonograph. 

"  Can  you  bear  it?  "  he  said. 

The  pale  young  face  flushed  with  resolution. 

"  Go  on,"  she  said. 

When  the  voice  from  the  phonograph  began  again  it  was 
more  tremulous  and  husky  than  before. 

"  After  he  had  betrayed  the  father,  what  impulse  of  fear  or 
humanity  prompted  him  to  take  charge  of  the  child,  God  alone, 
who  reads  all  hearts,  can  say.  lie  went  to  England  to  look  for 
her,  found  her  in  the  streets  to  which  she  had  been  abandoned 
by  the  faithlessness  of  the  guardians  to  whom  I  left  her,  and 
shut  their  mouths  by  buying  them  to  the  perjury  of  burying 
the  unknown  body  of  an  unfortunate  being  in  the  name  of  my 
beloved  child." 

The  hand  on  Rossi's  arm  trembled  feebly,  and  slipped  down 
to  his  own  hand.  It  was  cold  as  ice.  The  voice  from  the 
phonograph  was  growing  faint. 

"  She  is  now  in  Rome,  living  in  the  name  that  was  mine  in 
Italy,  amid  an  atmosphere  of  danger  and  perhaps  of  shame. 
My  son,  save  her  from  it.  The  man  who  betrayed  the  father 
may  betray  the  daughter  also.  Take  her  from  him.  Rescue 
her.    It  is  my  dying  prayer." 

The  hand  in  Rossi's  hand  was  holdings  it  tightly,  and  his 
blood  was  throbbing  at  his  heart. 


DAVID  ROSSI  235 

"  David,"  the  voice  from  the  phonograph  was  failing  rapidly, 
"  when  this  shall  come  to  your  hands  the  darkness  of  the  grave 
will  be  over  me.  ...  In  my  great  distress  of  mind  I  torture 
myself  with  many  terrors.  .  .  .  Do  not  trifle  with  my  request. 
But  whatever  you  decide  to  do  ...  be  gentle  with  the  child.  .  .  . 
I  dream  of  her  every  night,  and  send  my  heart's  heart  to  her  on 
the  swelling  tides  of  love.  .  .  .  Adieu,  my  son.  The  end  is  near. 
God  be  with  you  in  all  you  do  that  I  did  ill  or  left  undone. 
And  if  death's  great  sundering  does  not  annihilate  the  memory 
of  those  who  remain  on  earth,  be  sure  you  have  a  helper  and  an 
advocate  in  heaven." 

The  voice  ceased,  the  whirring  of  the  instrument  came  to 
an  end,  and  an  invisible  spirit  seemed  to  fade  into  the  air.  The 
pattering  of  the  rain  had  stopped,  and  there  was  the  crackle 
of  cab  wheels  on  the  pavement  below.  Roma  had  dropped 
Eossi's  hand,  and  was  leaning  forward  on  her  knees  with  both 
hands  over  her  face.  After  a  moment,  she  wiped  her  eyes  with 
her  handkerchief  and  began  to  put  on  her  hat. 

"  How  long  is  it  since  you  received  this  message  ? "  she 
said. 

"  On  the  night  you  came  here  first." 

"  And  when  I  asked  you  to  come  to  my  house  on  that  .  .  . 
that  useless  errand,  you  were  thinking  of  ...  of  my  father's 
request  as  well  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  You  have  known  all  this  about  the  Baron  for  a  month, 
yet  you  have  said  nothing.     Why  have  you  said  nothing  ?  " 

"  You  wouldn't  have  believed  me  at  first,  whatever  I  had 
said  against  him." 

"But  afterwards?" 

"  Afterwards  I  had  another  reason." 

"  Did  it  concern  me  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"And  now?" 

"  ISTow  that  I  have  to  part  from  you  I  am  compelled  to  tell 
you  what  he  is." 

"  But  if  you  had  known  that  all  this  time  he  has  been 
trying  to  use  somebody  against  you  .  .  ." 

"  That  would  have  made  no  difference." 

She  lifted  her  head  and  a  look  of  fire,  almost  of  fierceness, 
came  into  her  face,  but  she  only  said,  with  a  little  hysterical 
cry,  as  if  her  throat  were  swelling: 

"  Come  to  me  to-morrow,  David !    Be  sure  you  come !    If 


236  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

you  don't  come  I  shall  never,  never  forgive  you !  But  you  will 
come !    You  will !    You  will !  " 

And  then,  as  if  afraid  of  breaking  out  into  sobs,  she  turned 
quickly  and  hurried  away. 

"  She  can  never  fall  into  that  man's  hands  now,"  he  thought. 
And  then  he  lit  his  lamp  and  sat  down  to  his  work,  but  the 
light  was  gone,  and  the  night  had  fallen  on  him. 


XVIII 

Next  morning  David  Rossi  had  not  yet  risen  when  some  one 
knocked  at  his  door.  It  was  Bruno.  The  great  fellow  looked 
nervous  and  troubled,  and  he  spoke  in  a  husky  whisper. 

"You're  not  going  to  Donna  Roma's  to-day,  sir?" 

"  Why  not,  Bruno  ?  " 

"  Have  you  seen  her  bust  of  yourself  ?  " 

"  Hardly  at  all." 

"  Just  so.  My  case,  too.  She  has  taken  care  of  that — 
locking  it  up  every  night,  and  getting  another  caster  to  cast 
it.  But  I  saw  it  the  first  morning  after  she  began,  and  I 
know  what  it  is." 

"What  is  it,  Bruno?" 

"  You'll  be  angry  again,  sir." 

"What  is  it?" 

"Judas — that's  what  it  is,  sir;  the  study  for  Judas  in  the 
fountain  for  the  Municipality." 

"  Is  that  all  ?  " 

"  All  ?  .  .  .  But  it's  a  caricature,  a  spiteful  caricature ! 
And  you  sat  four  days  and  never  even  looked  at  it !  I  tell  you 
it's  disgusting,  sir.  Simply  disgusting.  It's  been  done  on  pur- 
pose, too.  When  I  think  of  it  I  forget  all  you  said,  and  I  hate 
the  woman  as  much  as  ever.  And  now  she  is  to  have  a  recep- 
tion, and  you  are  going  to  it,  just  to  help  her  to  have  her  laugh. 
Don't  go,  sir !     Take  the  advice  of  a  fool,  and  don't  go ! " 

"Bruno,"  said  Rossi,  lying  with  his  head  on  his  arm,  "un- 
derstand me  once  for  all.  Donna  Roma  may  have  used  my  head 
as  a  study  for  Judas — I  cannot  deny  that  since  you  say  it  is  so 
— but  if  she  had  used  it  as  a  study  for  Satan,  I  would  believe 
in  her  the  same  as  ever." 

"You  would?" 

"  Yes,  by  God !  So  now,  like  a  good  fellow,  go  away  and 
leave  her  alone." 


DAVID  ROSSI  237 

The  streets  were  more  than  usually  full  of  people  when 
Eossi  set  out  for  the  reception.  Thick  groups  were  standing 
about  the  hoardings,  reading  a  yellow  placard,  which  was  still 
wet  with  the  paste  of  the  bill-sticker.  It  was  a  proclamation, 
signed  by  the  Minister  of  the  Interior,  and  it  ran : 

"Romans, — It  having  come  to  the  knowledge  of  the  Government 
that  a  set  of  misguided  men,  the  enemies  of  the  throne  and  of  society, 
known  to  he  in  league  with  the  republican,  atheist,  and  anarchist 
associations  of  foreign  countries,  are  inciting  the  people  to  resist  the 
Just  laws  made  by  their  duly  elected  Parliament,  and  sanctioned  hy 
their  King,  thus  trying  to  lead  them  into  outbreaks  that  would  be  un- 
worthy of  a  cultivated  and  generous  race,  and  woxdd  disgrace  us  in 
the  view  of  other  nations — the  Oovernment  hereby  give  notice  that 
they  will  not  allow  the  laws  to  be  insulted  with  impunity,  and  there- 
fore they  warn  the  public  against  tlie  holding  of  all  such  mass  meet- 
ings in  public  buildings,  squares,  and  streets,  as  may  lead  to  the 
possibility  of  serious  disturbances." 


XIX 

The  little  Piazza  of  Trinita  de'  Monti  was  full  of  carriages, 
and  Roma's  rooms  were  thronged.  David  Rossi  entered  with 
the  calmness  of  a  man  who  is  accustomed  to  personal  observa- 
tion, but  Roma  met  him  with  an  almost  extravagant  saluta- 
tion. 

"  Ah,  you  have  come  at  last,"  she  said  in  a  voice  that  was 
intended  to  be  heard  by  all.  And  then,  in  a  low  tone,  she 
added,  "  Stay  near  me,  and  don't  go  until  I  say  you  may." 

Her  face  had  the  expression  that  had  puzzled  him  the  day 
before,  but  with  the  flushed  cheeks,  the  firm  mouth  and  the 
shining  eyes,  there  was  now  a  strange  look  of  excitement,  al- 
most of  hysteria. 

The  company  was  divided  into  four  main  groups.  The 
first  of  them  consisted  of  Roma's  aunt,  powdered  and  perfumed, 
propped  up  with  cushions  on  an  invalid  chair,  and  receiving 
the  guests  by  the  door,  with  the  Baron  Bonelli,  silent  and 
dignified,  but  smiling  his  icy  smile,  by  her  side.  A  second 
group  consisted  of  Don  Camillo  and  some  ladies  of  fashion,  who 
stood  by  the  window  and  made  little  half-smothered  trills  of 
laughter.  The  third  group  included  Lena  and  Olga,  the  jour- 
nalists, with  Madame  Sella,  the  modiste ;  and  the  fourth  group 


238  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

was  made  up  of  the  English  and  American  Ambassadors,  Count 
Mario,  and  some  other  diplomatists. 

The  conversation  was  at  first  interrupted  by  the  little  pauses 
that  follow  fresh  arrivals ;  and  after  it  had  settled  down  to  the 
dull  buzz  of  a  beehive,  when  the  old  brood  and  their  queen 
are  being  turned  out,  it  consisted  merely  of  hints,  giving 
the  impression  of  something  in  the  air  that  was  scandalous 
and  amusing,  but  could  not  be  talked  about. 

"Have  you  heard  that  .  .  ."  "Is  it  true  that  .  .  ." 
"  'No  ?  "  "  Can  it  be  possible  ?  "  "  How  delicious !  "  and  then 
inaudible  questions  and  low  replies,  with  tittering,  tapping  of 
fans,  and  insinuating  glances. 

But  Roma  seemed  to  hear  everything  that  was  said  about 
her,  and  constantly  broke  in  upon  a  whispered  conversation 
with  disconcerting  openness. 

"That  man  here!"  said  one  of  the  journalists  at  Rossi's 
entrance.  "  In  the  same  room  w'ith  the  Prime  Minister!  "  said 
another.     "  After  that  disgraceful  scene  in  the  House,  too ! " 

"  I  hear  that  he  was  abominably  rude  to  the  Baron  yester- 
day," said  Madame  Sella. 

"  Rude  ?  He  has  blundered  shockingly,  and  offended  every- 
body. They  tell  me  the  Vatican  is  now  up  in  arms  against 
him,  and  is  going  to  denounce  him  and  all  his  ways." 

"  No  wonder !  He  has  made  himself  thoroughly  disagree- 
able, and  I'm  only  surprised  that  the  Prime  Minister  .  .  ." 

"  Oh,  leave  the  Prime  Minister  alone.  He  has  something 
up  his  sleeve.  .  .  .  Haven't  you  heard  why  we  are  invited  here 
to-day?     No?     Xot  heard   that  .  .  ." 

"  Really  ?  So  that  explains.  ...  I  see,  I  see !  "  and  then 
more  tittering  and  tapping  of  fans. 

"  Certainly,  he  is  an  extraordinary  man,  and  one  of  the 
first  statesmen  in  Europe." 

"  It's  so  unselfish  of  you  to  say  that,"  said  Roma,  flashing 
round  suddenly,  "  for  the  Minister  has  never  been  a  friend  of 
journalists,  and  I've  heard  him  say  that  there  wasn't  one  of 
them  who  wouldn't  sell  his  mother's  honour  if  he  thought  he 
could  make  a  sensation." 

"  Love  ? "  said  the  voice  of  Don  Camillo  in  the  silence  that 
followed  Roma's  remark.  ""What  has  marriage  to  do  with 
love  except  to  spoil  it  ? "  And  then,  amidst  laughter  and  the 
playful  looks  of  the  ladies  by  whom  he  was  surrounded,  he  gave 
a  gay  picture  of  his  own  poverty,  and  the  necessity  of  mar- 
rying to  retrieve  his  fortunes. 


DAVID  ROSSI  239 

"  What  would  you  have  ?  Look  at  my  position !  A  great 
name,  as  ancient  as  history,  and  no  income.  A  gorgeous  pal- 
ace, as  old  as  the  pyramids,  and  no  cook !  " 

"  Don't  be  so  conceited  about  pour  poverty,  Gi-gi,"  said 
Koma.  "  Some  of  the  Roman  ladies  are  as  poor  as  the  men. 
As  for  me,  Madame  Sella  could  sell  up  every  stick  in  my  house 
to-morrow,  and  if  the  Municipality  should  throw  up  my  foun- 
tain .  .  ." 

"  Senator  Palomba,"  said  Felice's  sepulchral  voice  from 
the  door. 

The  suave,  oily  little  Mayor  came  in,  twinkling  his  eyes 
and  saying : 

"  Did  I  hear  my  name  as  I  entered  ?  " 

"  I  was  saying,"  said  Roma,  "  that  if  the  Municipality 
should  throw  up  my  fountain  .  .  ." 

The  little  man  made  an  amusing  gesture,  and  the  con- 
strained silence  was  broken  by  some  awkward  laughter. 

"  Roma,"  said  the  testy  voice  of  the  Countess,  "  I  think  I've 
done  my  duty  by  you,  and  now  the  Baron  will  take  me  back. 
Natalina!     Where's  Xatalina?" 

But  half-a-dozen  hands  took  hold  of  the  invalid  chair,  and 
the  Baron  followed  it  into  the  bedroom. 

"  Wonderful  man  !  "  "  Wonderful !  "  whispered  various 
voices,  as  the  3»Iinister's  smile  disappeared  through  the  door. 

The  conversation  had  begun  to  languish  when  the  Princess 
Bellini  arrived,  and  then  suddenly  it  became  lively  and  gen- 
eral. 

"I'm  late,  but  do  you  know,  my  dear,"  she  said,  kissing 
Roma  on  both  cheeks,  "  I've  been  nearly  torn  to  pieces  in  com- 
ing. My  carriage  had  to  plough  its  way  through  crowds  of 
people." 

"  Crowds  ?  " 

"  Yes,  indeed,  and  the  streets  are  nearly  impassable.  An- 
other demonstration,  I  suppose!  The  poor  must  always  be 
demonstrating." 

"  Ah !  yes,"  said  Don  Camillo.  "  Haven't  you  heard  the 
news.  Roma  ?  " 

"  I've  been  working  all  night  and  all  day,  and  I  have  heard 
nothing,"  said  Roma. 

"  Well,  to  prevent  a  recurrence  of  the  disgraceful  scene  of 
yesterday,  the  King  has  promulgated  the  Public  Security  Act 
by  royal  decree,  and  the  wonderful  crisis  is  at  an  end." 

"And  now?" 


240  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  ISTow  the  Prime  Minister  is  master  of  the  situation,  and 
]ias  begun  by  proclaiming  the  mass  meeting  which  was  to  have 
been  held  in  the  Coliseum." 

"  Good  thing  too,"  said  Count  Mario.  "  We've  heard 
enough  of  liberal  institutions  lately." 

"  And  of  the  scandalous  speeches  of  professional  agitators," 
said  Madame  Sella. 

"  And  of  the  liberty  of  the  press,"  said  Senator  Palomba. 
And  then  the  effeminate  old  dandy,  the  fashionable  dressmaker, 
and  the  oily  little  Mayor  exchanged  significant  nods. 

"  Wait !  Only  wait !  "  said  Roma,  in  a  low  voice,  to  Rossi, 
who  was  standing  in  silence  by  her  side. 

"  Unhappy  Italy !  "  said  the  American  Ambassador.  "  With 
the  largest  array  of  titled  nobility  and  the  largest  army  of 
beggars.  The  one  class  sipping  iced  drinks  in  the  piazzas  dur- 
ing the  playing  of  music,  and  the  other  class  marching  through 
the  streets  and  conspiring  against  society." 

"  You  judge  us  from  a  foreign  standpoint,  dear  friend,"  said 
Don  Camillo,  "  and  forget  our  love  of  a  pageant.  The  Princess 
says  -our  poor  are  always  demonstrating.  We  are  all  always 
demonstrating.  Our  favourite  demonstration  is  a  funeral,  with 
drums  beating  and  banners  waving.  If  we  cannot  have  a 
funeral  we  have  a  wedding,  with  flowers  and  favours  and  floods 
of  tears.  And  when  we  cannot  have  either,  we  put  up  with  a 
revolution,  and  let  our  radical  orators  tell  us  of  the  wickedness 
of  taxing  the  people's  bread." 

"  Always  their  bread,"  said  the  Princess,  with  a  laugh. 

"  In  America,  dear  General,  you  are  so  tragically  sincere, 
but  in  Italy  we  are  a  race  of  actors.  The  King,  the  Parliament, 
the  Pope  himself  .  .  ." 

"Shocking!"  said  the  little  Princess.  "But  if  you  had 
said  as  much  of  our  professional  agitators  .  .  ." 

"  Oh,  they  are  the  most  accomplished  and  successful  actors, 
Princess.  But  we  are  all  actors  in  Italy,  from  the  greatest 
to  the  least,  and  the  '  curtain '  is  to  him  who  can  score  off 
everybody  else." 

"  So,"  began  the  American,  "  to  be  Prime  Minister  in 
Rome  .  .  ."  ^ 

"Is  to  be  the  chief  actor  in  Europe,  and  his  leading  part 
is  that  in  which  he  puts  an  end  to  his  adversary  amidst  a  burst 
of  inextinguishable  laughter." 

"  What  is  he  driving  at  ?  "  said  the  English  to  the  American 
Ambassador. 


DAVID   ROSSI  241 

"  Don't  you  know  ?  Haven't  you  heard  what  is  coming  ?  " 
And  then  some  further  whispering. 

"  Wait,  only  wait !  "  said  Roma. 

"  Gi-gi,"  said  the  Princess,  "  how  stupid  you  are !  You're 
all  wrong  about  Roma.  Look  at  her  now.  To  think  that 
men  can  be  so  blind!  And  the  Baron  is  no  better  than 
the  rest  of  you.  He's  too  proud  to  believe  what  I  tell  him, 
but  he'll  learn  the  truth  some  day.  He  is  here,  of  course? 
In  the  Countess's  room,  isn't  he?  .  .  .  How  do  you  like  my 
dress  ? " 

"  It's  perfect." 

"  Really  ?  The  black  and  the  blue  make  a  charming  effect, 
don't  they  ?  They  are  the  Baron's  favourite  colours.  How  agi- 
tated our  hostess  is!  She  seems  to  have  all  the  world  here. 
When  are  we  to  see  the  wonderful  work?  What's  she  waiting 
for?    Ah,  there's  the  Baron  coming  out  at  last!  " 

"  They're  all  here,  aren't  they  ?  "  said  Roma,  looking  round 
with  flushed  cheeks  and  flaming  eyes  at  the  jangling,  slandering 
crew,  who  had  insulted  and  degraded  David  Rossi. 

"  Take  care,"  he  answered,  but  she  only  threw  up  her  head 
and  laughed. 

Then  the  company  went  down  the  circular  iron  staircase  to 
the  studio.  Roma  walked  fii-st  with  her  rapid  step,  talking 
nervously  and  laughing  frequently. 

The  fountain  stood  in  the  middle  of  the  floor,  and  the 
guests  gathered  about  it. 

"  Superb !  "  they  exclaimed  one  after  another.  "  Superb ! 
Superb !  " 

The  little  Mayor  was  especially  enthusiastic.  He  stood  near 
the  Baron,  and  holding  up  both  hands  he  cried : 

"Marvellous!  Miraculous!  Fit  to  take  its  place  beside 
the  masterpieces  of  old  Rome !  " 

"  But  surely  this  is  '  Hamlet '  without  the  prince,''  said  the 
Baron.  "  You  set  out  to  make  a  fountain  representing  Christ 
and  his  twelve  apostles,  and  the  only  figure  you  leave  unfinished 
is  Christ  Himself." 

He  pointed  to  the  central  figure  above  the  dish,  which  was 
merely  shaped  out  and  indicated. 

"  !N^ot  oidy  one,  your  Excellency,"  said  Don  Camillo. 
"  Here  is  another  unfinished  figure — intended  for  Judas.  a]i- 
parently." 

"  I  left  them  to  the  last  on  purpose,"  said  Roma.  "  They 
were  so  important,  and  so  difficult.     But  I  have  studies  for 


242  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

both  of  them  in  the  boudoir,  and  you  shall  give  me  your  advice 
and  opinion." 

"  The  saint  and  the  satyr,  the  God  and  the  devil,  the  be- 
trayed and  the  betrayer — what  subjects  for  the  chisel  of  the 
artist !  "  said  Don  Camillo. 

"  Just  so,"  said  the  Mayor.  "  She  must  do  the  one  with 
all  the  emotions  of  love,  and  the  other  with  all  the  faculties  of 
hate." 

"  jSTot  that  art,"  said  Don  Camillo,  "  has  anything  to  do 
with  life — that  is  to  say,  real  life  .  .  ." 

"  Why  not?  "  said  Roma,  sharply.  "  The  artist  has  to  live 
in  the  world,  and  he  isn't  blind.  Therefore,  why  shouldn't  he 
describe  what  he  sees  around  him?" 

"  But  is  that  art  ?  If  so,  the  artist  is  at  liberty  to  give  his 
views  on  religion  and  politics,  and  by  the  medium  of  his  art 
he  may  even  express  his  private  feelings — return  insults  and 
wreak  revenge." 

"  Certainly  he  may,"  said  Roma,  "  the  greatest  artists  have 
often  done  so."  Saying  this,  she  led  the  way  upstairs 
and  the  others  followed,  with  a  chorus  of  hypocritical  ap- 
proval. 

"  It's  only  human,  to  say  the  least."  "  Of  course  it  is ! " 
"  If  she's  a  woman  and  can't  speak  out,  or  fight  duels,  it's  a 
lady-like  way,  at  all  events."  And  then  further  tittering, 
tapping  of  fans,  and  significant  nods  at  Rossi  when  his  back 
was  turned. 

Two  busts  stood  on  pedestals  in  the  boudoir.  One  of  them 
was  covered  with  a  damp  cloth,  the  other  with  a  muslin  veil. 
Going  up  to  the  latter  first  Roma  said,  with  a  slightly  quaver- 
ing voice : 

"  It  was  so  difiicult  to  do  justice  to  the  Christ  that  I  am 
almost  sori-y  I  made  the  attempt.  But  it  came  easier  when  I 
began  to  think  of  some  one  who  was  being  reviled  and  humili- 
ated and  degraded  because  he  was  poor  and  wasn't  ashamed  of 
it,  and  who  was  always  standing  up  for  the  weak  and  the  down- 
trodden, and  never  returning  anybody's  insult  however  shame- 
ful and  false  and  wicked,  because  he  wasn't  thinking  of  himself 
at  all.  So  I  got  the  best  model  I  could  in  real  life  and  this 
is  the  result." 

With  that  she  pulled  off  the  muslin  veil  and  revealed  the 
sculptured  head  of  David  Rossi,  in  a  snow-white  plaster  cast. 
The  features  expressed  pure  nobility,  and  every  touch  was  a 
touch  of  sympathy  and  love. 


DAVID   ROSSI  243 

A  moment  of  chilling  silence  was  followed  by  an  under- 
breath  of  gossip.  "  Who  is  it  ?  "  "  Christ,  of  course."  "  Oh, 
certainly,  but  it  reminds  me  of  some  one."  "  Who  can  it  be  ? " 
"  The  Pope  ?  "  "  Why,  no ;  don't  you  see  who  it  is  ?  "  "  Is  it 
really  ?  "    "  How  shameful !  "     "  How  blasphemous !  " 

Eoma  stood  looking  on  with  a  face  lighted  up  by  two 
flaming  eyes.  "  I'm  afraid  you  don't  think  I've  done  justice  to 
my  model,"  she  said.  "  That's  quite  true.  But  perhaps  my 
Judas  will  please  you  better,"  and  she  stepped  up  to  the  bust 
that  was  covered  by  the  wet  cloth. 

"  I  found  this  a  difficult  subject  also,  and  it  was  not  until 
yesterday  evening  that  I  felt  able  to  begin  on  it." 

Then,  with  a  hand  that  trembled  visibly,  she  took  from  the 
wall  the  portrait  of  her  father,  and  offering  it  to  the  Minister, 
she  said: 

"  Some  one  told  me  a  story  of  duplicity  and  treachery — it 
was  about  this  poor  old  gentleman.  Baron — and  then  I  knew 
what  sort  of  person  it  was  who  betrayed  his  friend  and  master 
for  thirty  pieces  of  silver,  and  listened  to  the  hypocrisy,  and 
flattery,  and  lying  of  the  miserable  group  of  parasites  who 
crowded  round  him  because  he  was  a  traitor,  and  because  he 
kept  the  purse." 

With  that  she  threw  off  the  damp  cloth,  and  revealed  the 
clay  model  of  a  head.  The  face  was  unmistakable,  but  it  ex- 
pressed every  baseness — cunning,  arrogance,  cruelty,  and  sen- 
suality. 

The  silence  was  freezing,  and  the  company  began  to  turn 
away,  and  to  mutter  among  themselves,  in  order  to  cover  their 
confusion.  "  It's  the  Baron !  "  "  Xo  ?  "  "  Yes."  "  Disgrace- 
ful !  "     "  Disgusting !  "     "  Shocking !  "     "A  scarecrow !  " 

Roma  watched  them  for  a  moment,  and  then  said :  "  You 
don't  like  my  Judas?  Xeither  do  I.  You're  right — it  is  dis- 
gusting." 

And  taking  up  in  both  hands  a  piece  of  thin  wire,  she  cut 
the  clay  across,  and  the  upper  part  of  it  fell  face  downward  with 
a  thud  on  to  the  floor. 

The  Princess,  who  stood  by  the  side  of  the  Baron,  offered 
him  her  sympathy,  and  he  answered  with  his  icy  smile : 

"  But  these  artists  are  all  slightly  insane,  you  know.  That 
is  an  evil  which  must  be  patiently  endured,  without  noticing 
too  much  the  ludicrous  side  of  it." 

Then,  stepping  up  to  Roma,  and  handing  back  the  portrait, 
the  Baron  said,  with  a  slight  frown : 


244  THT2  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  I  must  thank  you  for  a  very  amusing  afternoon,  and  bid 
you  good-day." 

The  others  looked  after  him,  and  interpreted  his  departure 
according  to  their  own  feelings,  "  He  is  done  with  her,"  they 
whispered.  "  He'll  pay  her  out  for  this."  And  without  more 
ado  they  began  to  follow  him-. 

Roma,  flushed  and  excited,  bowed  to  them  as  they  went  out 
one  by  one,  with  a  politeness  that  was  demonstrative  to  the 
point  of  caricature.  She  was  saying  farewell  to  them  for  ever, 
and  her  face  was  lighted  up  with  a  look  of  triumphant  joy. 
They  tried  to  bear  themselves  bravely  as  they  passed  her,  but 
her  blazing  eyes  and  sweeping  curtseys  made  them  feel  as  if 
they  were  being  turned  out  of  the  house. 

When  they  were  all  gone,  she  shut  the  door  with  a  bang,  and 
then  turning  to  David  Rossi,  who  alone  remained,  she  burst 
into  a  flood  of  hysterical  tears,  and  threw  herself  on  to  her 
knees  at  his  feet. 

XX 

"  David  !  "  she  cried. 

"  Don't  do  that.    Get  up,"  he  answered. 

His  thoughts  were  in  a  whirl.  He  had  been  standing  aside, 
trembling  for  Roma  as  he  had  never  trembled  for  himself  in 
the  hottest  moments  of  his  public  life.  And  now  he  was  alone 
with  her,  and  his  blood  was  beating  in  his  breast  in  stabs. 

"  Haven't  I  done  enough  ?  "  she  cried.  "  You  taunted  me 
with  my  wealth,  but  I  am  as  poor  as  you  are  now.  Every  penny 
I  had  in  the  world  came  from  the  Baron.  He  allowed  me  to 
use  part  of  the  revenues  of  my  father's  estates,  but  the  income 
was  under  his  control,  and  now  he  will  stop  it  altogether.  I 
am  in  debt.  I  have  always  been  in  debt.  That  was  my  bene- 
factor's way  of  reminding  me  of  my  dependence  on  his  bounty. 
And  now  all  I  have  will  be  sold  to  satisfy  my  creditors  and  I 
shall  be  turned  out  homeless." 

"  Roma  .  .  ."  he  began,  but  her  tears  and  passion  bore 
down  everything. 

House,  furniture,  presents,  carriages,  horses,  everything 
will  go  soon,  and  I  shall  have  nothing  whatever !  No  matter ! 
You  said  a  woman  loved  ease  and  wealth  and  luxury.  Is  that 
all  a  woman  loves?  Is  there  nothing  else  in  the  world  for 
any  of  us  ?     Aren't  you  satisfied  with  me  at  last  ?  " 

"  Roma,"  he  answered,  breathing  hard,  "  don't  talk  like  that. 
I  cannot  bear  it." 


DAVID   ROSSI  245 

But  she  did  not  listen.  "  You  taunted  me  with  being  a 
woman,"  she  said  through  a  fresh  burst  of  tears.  "  A  woman 
was  incapable  of  friendship  and  sacrifices.  She  was  intended 
to  be  a  man's  plaything.  Do  you  think  I  want  to  be  my  hus- 
band's mistress  ?  I  want  to  be  his  wife,  to  share  his  fate,  what- 
ever it  may  be,  for  good  or  bad,  for  better  or  worse." 

"  For  God's  sake,  Roma !  "  he  cried.  But  she  broke  in  on 
him  again. 

"  You  taunted  me  with  the  dangers  you  had  to  go  through, 
as  if  a  woman  must  needs  be  an  impediment  to  her  husband, 
and  try  to  keep  him  back.  Do  you  think  I  want  my  husband 
to  do  nothing.  If  he  were  content  with  that  he  would  not 
be  the  man  I  had  loved,  and  I  should  despise  him  and  leave 
him." 

"Roma!  .  .  ." 

"  Then  you  taunted  me  with  the  death  that  hangs  over  you. 
When  you  were  gone  I  should  be  left  to  the  mercy  of  the 
world.  But  that  can  never  happen.  Xever!  Do  you  think  a 
woman  can  outlive  the  man  she  loves  as  I  love  you?  .  .  . 
There !    I've  said  it.    You've  shamed  me  into  it." 

He  could  not  speak  now.  His  words  were  choking  in  his 
throat,  and  she  went  on  in  a  torrent  of  tears: 

"  The  death  that  threatens  you  comes  from  no  fault  of 
yours,  but  only  from  your  fidelity  to  my  father.  Therefore  I 
have  a  right  to  share  it,  and  I  will  not  live  when  you  are  dead." 

"  If  I  give  way  now,"  he  thought,  "  all  is  over." 

And  clenching  his  hands  behind  his  back  to  keep  himself 
from  throwing  his  arms  around  her,  he  began  in  a  low  voice : 

"  Roma,  you  have  broken  your  promise  to  me." 

"  I  don't  care,"  she  interrupted.  "  I  would  break  ten  thou- 
sand promises.  I  deceived  you.  I  confess  it.  I  pretended  to 
be  reconciled  to  your  will,  and  I  was  not  reconciled.  I  wanted 
you  to  see  me  strip  myself  of  all  I  had,  that  you  might  have 
no  answer  and  excuse.  Well,  you  have  seen  me  do  it,  and  now 
.  .  .  what  are  you  going  to  do  nowV^ 

"  Roma,"  he  began  again,  trembling  all  over,  "  there  have 
been  two  men  in  me  all  this  time,  and  one  of  them  has  been 
trying  to  protect  you  from  the  world  and  from  yourself,  while 
the  other  .  .  .  the  other  has  been  wanting  you  to  despise  all 
his  objections,  and  trample  them  under  your  feet.  ...  If  I 
could  only  believe  that  you  know  all  you  are  doing,  all  the  risk 
you  are  running,  and  the  fate  you  are  willing  to  share  .  .  .  but 
no,  it  is  impossible." 


246  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  David,"  she  cried,  "  you  love  me !  If  you  didn't  love  me,  I 
should  know  it  now — at  this  moment.  But  I  am  braver  than 
you  are.  .  .  ." 

"  Let  me  go.     I  cannot  answer  for  myself." 

"  I  am  braver  than  you  are,  for  I  have  not  only  stripped 
myself  of  all  my  possessions,  and  of  all  my  friends — I  have  even 
compromised  mj'self  again  and  again,  and  been  daring  and 
audacious,  and  rude  to  everybody  for  your  sake.  ...  I,  a 
woman  .  .  .  while  you,  a  man  .  .  .  you  are  afraid  .  .  .  yes, 
afraid  .  .  .  you  are  a  coward — that's  it,  a  coward !  .  .  .  No,  no, 
no  !    What  am  I  saying  ?  .  .  .  David  Leone !  " 

And  with  a  cry  of  passion  and  remorse  she  flung  both  arms 
about  his  neck. 

He  had  stood,  during  this  fierce  struggle  of  love  and  pain, 
holding  himself  in  until  his  throbbing  nerves  could  bear  the 
strain  no  longer. 

"  Come  to  me,  then — come  to  me,"  he  cried,  and  at  the  mo- 
ment when  she  threw  herself  upon  him  he  stretched  out  his 
arms  to  receive  her. 

"  You  do  love  me  ?  "  she  said. 

"  Indeed,  yes !    And  you  ?  " 

"  Yes,  yes,  yes !  " 

He  clasped  her  in  his  arms  with  redoubled  ardour,  and 
pressed  her  to  his  breast  and  kissed  her.  The  love  so  long  pent 
up  was  bursting  out  like  a  liberated  cataract  that  sweeps  the 
snow  and  the  ice  before  it. 

All  at  once  the  girl  who  had  been  so  brave  in  the  great 
battle  of  her  love  became  weak  and  womanish  in  the  moment 
of  her  victory.  Under  the  warmth  of  his  tenderness  she 
dropped  her  head  on  to  his  breast  to  conceal  her  face  in  her 
shame. 

"  You  will  never  think  the  worse  of  me  ? "  she  faltered. 

"  The  worse  of  you !    For  loving  me  ?  " 

"  For  telling  you  so  and  forcing  myself  into  your  life  ? " 

"  My  darling,  no  !  " 

She  lifted  her  head,  and  he  kissed  away  the  tears  that  were 
shining  in  her  eyes. 

"  But  tell  me,"  he  said,  "  are  you  sure — quite  sure  ?  Do  you 
know  what  is  before  you  ?  " 

"  I  only  know  I  love  you." 

He  folded  her  afresh  in  his  strong  embrace,  and  kissed  her 
head  as  it  lay  on  his  breast. 

"  Think  again,"  he  said.    "  A  man's  enemies  can  be  merciless. 


DAVID  ROSSI  247 

They  may  watch  you  and  put  pressure  upon  you,  and  even  hu- 
miliate you  for  my  sake." 

"  Iso  matter !  I  am  not  afraid,"  she  answered,  and  again 
he  tightened  his  amis  about  her  in  a  passionate  embrace,  and 
covered  her  hair  and  her  neck  and  her  hands  and  her  finger- 
tips with  kisses. 

They  did  not  speak  for  a  long  time  after  that.  There  was 
no  need  for  words.  He  was  conquered,  yet  he  was  conqueror, 
and  she  was  happy  and  at  peace.  The  long  fight  was  over,  and 
everything  was  well. 

He  put  her  to  sit  in  a  chair,  and  sat  himself  on  the  arm  of 
it,  with  his  face  to  her  face,  and  her  arms  still  round  his  neck. 
It  was  like  a  dream.  She  could  scarcely  believe  it.  He  whom 
she  had  looked  up  to  with  adoration  was  caressing  her.  She 
was  like  a  child  in  her  joy,  blushing  and  half  afraid. 

He  ran  his  hand  through  her  hair  and  kissed  her  forehead. 
She  threw  back  her  head  that  she  might  put  her  lips  to  his  fore- 
head in  return,  and  he  kissed  her  full,  round  throat. 

Then  they  exchanged  rings  as  the  sign  of  their  eternal 
union.  When  she  put  her  diamond  ring,  set  in  gold,  on  to  his 
finger,  he  looked  grave  and  even  sad ;  but  when  he  put  his  plain 
silver  one  on  to  hers,  she  lifted  up  her  glorified  hand  to  the 
light,  and  kissed  and  kissed  it. 

They  began  to  talk  in  low  tones,  as  if  some  one  had  been  lis- 
tening. It  was  the  whispering  of  their  hearts,  for  the  angel 
of  happy  love  has  no  voice  louder  than  a  whisper.  She  asked 
him  to  say  again  that  he  loved  her,  but  as  soon  as  he  began 
to  say  it  she  stopped  his  mouth  with  a  kiss. 

They  talked  of  their  love.  She  was  sure  she  had  loved  him 
before  he  loved  her,  and  when  he  said  that  he  had  loved  her 
always,  she  protested  in  that  case  he  did  not  love  her  at  all. 

They  talked  of  the  pain  of  love.  Did  love  always  begin  with 
pain?  Love  must  be  a  twin  thing,  two  spirits  born  in  different 
breasts,  and  crying  and  crying  until  they  come  together.  That 
union  was  the  real  beginning  of  the  love-life,  and  all  that  went 
before  it  was  but  the  agony  of  birth. 

The  church  bells  began  to  ring  the  Ave  Maria,  and  they 
closed  their  eyes  to  listen.  They  wanted  to  remember  this  hour 
as  the  hour  of  the  new  birth  of  their  love,  so  they  clasped  hands 
and  dreamt  themselves  back  into  silence.  But  through  the 
silence  of  their  tongues  the  bells  came  laden  with  other  voices. 
One  bell  was  like  the  voice  of  a  happy  child  playing  in  the 
morning  sunshine;  another  bell  was  like  the  sweet  voice  of  a 


248  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

boy  in  a  choir,  going  up,  up,  up  to  the  gate  of  heaven ;  a  third 
bell  was  like  a  girl's  voice  calling  across  a  meadow,  fresh  with 
the  perfume  of  verdure  and  wild  flowers ;  a  fourth  was  like  the 
voice  of  a  sailor  on  the  shore  of  a  sunlit  sea ;  and  then  the  far- 
off  boom  of  the  big  bell  of  St.  Peter's  was  like  the  voice  of  the 
sea  itself,  telling  of  the  lovers  who  were  lost  in  its  depths.  But 
all  the  bells  of  Rome  were  ringing  for  them,  and  the  Ave 
Maria  was  their  ov/n. 

They  rose  at  length  to  close  the  windows,  and  side  by  side, 
his  arm  about  her  waist,  her  head  leaning  lightly  on  his  shoul- 
der, they  stood  for  a  moment  looking  out.  The  mother  of 
cities  lay  below  in  its  lightsome  whiteness,  and  over  the  ridge  of 
its  encircling  hills  the  glow  of  the  departing  sun  was  rising 
in  vaporous  tints  of  amber  and  crimson  into  the  transparent 
blue,  with  the  dome  of  St.  Peter's,  like  a  balloon,  ready  to  rise 
into  a  celestial  sky. 

"  A  storm  is  coming,"  he  said,  looking  at  the  colours  in  the 
sunset. 

"  It  has  come  and  gone,"  she  whispered,  and  then  his  arm 
folded  closer  about  her  waist. 

It  took  him  half-an-hour  to  say  adieu.  After  the  last  kiss 
and  the  last  handshake,  their  anns  would  stretch  out  to  the 
utmost  limit,  and  then  close  again  for  another  and  another  and 
yet  another  embrace. 

XXI 

When  at  length  Rossi  was  gone,  Roma  ran  into  her  bedroom 
to  look  at  her  face  in  the  glass.  The  golden  complexion  was 
heightened  by  a  bright  spot  on  either  cheek,  and  a  tear-drop 
was  glistening  in  the  corner  of  each  of  her  eyes. 

She  went  back  to  the  boudoir.  David  Rossi  was  no  longer 
there,  but  the  room  seemed  to  be  full  of  his  presence.  She  sat 
in  the  chair  again,  and  again  she  stood  by  the  window.  At 
length  she  opened  her  desk  and  wrote  a  letter: 

"  Dearest, — You  are  only  half-an-hour  gone,  and  here  I  am 
sending  this  letter  after  you,  like  a  handkerchief  you  had  for- 
gotten. I  have  one  or  two  things  to  say,  quite  matter-of-fact 
and  simple  things,  but  I  cannot  think  of  them  sensibly  for  joy 
of  the  certainty  that  you  love  me.  Of  course,  I  knew  it  all  the 
time,  but  I  couldn't  be  at  ease  until  I  had  heard  it  from  your 
own  lips ;  and  now  I  feel  almost  afraid  of  my  great  happiness. 


DAVID  ROSSI  249 

How  wonderful  it  seems!  Aud,  like  all  events  that  are  long- 
expected,  how  suddenly  it  has  happened  m  the  end !  To  think 
that  a  month  ago — only  a  little  month — you  and  I  were  both  in 
Rome,  within  a  mile  of  each  other,  breathing  the  same  air, 
enclosed  by  the  same  cloud,  kissed  by  the  same  sunshine,  and 
yet  we  didn't  know  it ! 

"  Oh,  my  dear,  sweet  sisters,  jou  who  are  living  joyless  and 
uncaressed,  don't  lose  heart !  Just  another  moment,  just  the 
turn  of  a  comer  somewhere,  and  his  eyes  will  meet  yours,  and 
you  will  be  happy,  happy,  happy ! 

"  Soberly,  though,  I  want  you  to  understand  that  I  meant 
all  I  said  so  savagely  about  going  on  with  your  work,  and  not 
letting  your  anxiety  about  my  welfare  interfere  with  you.  I 
am  really  one  of  the  women  who  think  that  a  wife  should  fur- 
ther a  man's  aims  in  life  if  she  can ;  and  if  she  can't  do  that,  she 
should  stand  aside  and  not  impede  him.  So  go  on,  dear  heart, 
without  fear  for  me.  I  will  take  care  of  myself,  whatever 
occurs.  Don't  let  one  hour  or  one  act  of  your  life  be  troubled 
by  the  thought  of  what  would  happen  to  me  if  you  should  fall. 
Dearest,  I  am  your  beloved,  but  I  am  your  soldier  also,  ready 
and  waiting  to  follow  where  my  captain  calls: 

"  'Teach  me,  only  teach,  Love! 
As  I  ought 
I  will  speak  thy  speech.  Love, 
Think  thy  thought.' 

"  And  if  I  was  not  half  afraid  that  you  would  think  it 
bolder  than  is  modest  in  your  bride  to  be,  I  would  go  on  with 
the  nest  lines  of  my  sweet  quotation. 

"  Another  thing.  You  went  away  without  saying  you  for- 
give me  for  the  wicked  duplicity  I  practised  upon  you.  It  was 
very  wrong,  I  suppose,  and  yet  for  my  life  I  cannot  get  up  any 
real  contrition  on  the  subject.  There's  always  some  duplicity 
in  a  woman.  It  is  the  badge  of  ever^-  daughter  of  Eve,  and  it 
must  come  out  somewhere.  In  my  case  it  came  out  in  loving 
you  to  all  the  lengths  and  ends  of  love,  and  drawing  you  on 
to  loving  me.    I  ought  to  be  ashamed,  but  I'm  not,  I'm  glad. 

"  I  did  love  first,  and,  of  course,  I  knew  you  from  the  be- 
ginning, and  when  you  wrote  about  being  in  love  with  some  one 
else,  I  knew  quite  well  you  meant  me.  But  it  was  so  delicious 
to  pretend  not  to  know,  to  come  near  and  then  to  sheer  off 
again,  to  touch  and  then  to  fly,  to  tempt  you  and  then  to  run 
17 


250  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

away,  until  a  strong  tide  rushed  at  me  and  overwiielmed  me, 
and  I  was  swooning  in  your  arms  at  last. 

"  Dearest,  don't  think  I  made  light  of  the  obstacles  you 
urged  against  our  union.  I  knew  all  the  time  that  the  risks  of 
marriage  were  serious,  though  perhaps  I  am  not  in  a  position 
even  yet  to  realise  how  serious  they  may  be.  Only  I  knew  also 
that  the  dangers  were  greater  still  if  we  kept  apart,  and  that 
gave  me  courage  to  be  bold  and  to  defy  conventions. 

"  Which  brings  me  to  my  last  point,  and  please  prepare  to  be 
serious,  and  bend  your  brow  to  that  terrible  furrow  which 
comes  when  you  are  fearfully  in  earnest.  What  you  said  of 
your  enemies  being  merciless,  and  perhaps  watching  me  and 
putting  pressure  upon  me  to  injure  you,  is  only  too  imminent  a 
danger.  The  truth  is  that  I  have  all  along  known  more  than 
I  had  courage  to  tell,  but  I  was  hoping  you  would  understand, 
and  now  I  tremble  to  think  how  I  have  suffered  myself  to  be 
silent. 

"  The  Minghelli  matter  is  an  alarming  affair,  for  I  have 
reason  to  believe  that  the  man  has  lit  on  the  name  you  bore 
in  England,  and  that  when  he  returns  to  Rome  he  will  try  to 
fix  it  upon  you  by  means  of  me.  This  is  fearful  to  contem- 
plate, and  my  heart  quakes  to  think  of  it.  But  happily  there 
is  a  way  to  checkmate  such  a  devilish  design,  and  it  is  within 
your  own  power  to  save  me  from  life-long  remorse. 

"  I  don't  think  the  laws  of  any  civilised  country  compel  a 
man's  unfe  to  compromise  him,  and  thinking  of  this  gives  me 
courage  to  be  unmaidenly  and  say  :  Don't  let  it  be  long,  dearest ! 
I  could  die  to  bring  it  to  pass  in  a  moment.  With  all  my  great, 
great  happiness,  I  shall  have  the  heartache  until  it  is  done,  and 
only  when  it  is  over  shall  I  begin  to  live ! 

"  There !  You  didn't  know  what  a  forward  hussy  I  could 
be  if  I  tried,  and  really  I  have  been  surprised  at  myself  since 
I  began  to  be  in  love  with  you.  For  weeks  and  weeks  I  have 
been  thin  and  haggard  and  ugly,  and  only  to-day  I  begin  to  be 
a  little  beautiful.  I  couldn't  be  anything  but  beautiful  to-day, 
and  I've  been  running  to  the  glass  to  look  at  myself,  as  the  only 
way  to  understand  why  you  love  me  at  all.  And  I'm  glad — ^so 
glad  for  your  sake. 

"  Good-bye,  dearest !  You  cannot  come  to-morrow  or  the 
next  day,  and  what  a  lot  I  shall  have  to  live  before  I  see  you 
again!  Shall  I  look  older?  'No,  for  thinking  of  you  makes  me 
feel  younger  and  younger  every  minute.  How  old  are  you? 
Thirty-four?     I'm  twenty-four  and  a  half,  and  that  is  just 


DAVID  ROSSI  251 

right,  but  if  you  think  I  ought  to  be  nearer  your  age  I'll  wear 
a  bonnet  and  fasten  it  with  a  bow.  Roma. 

"  P.S. — Don't  delay  the  momentous  matter.  Don't !  Don't ! 
Don't!" 

She  dined  alone  that  night  that  she  might  be  undisturbed  in 
her  thoughts  of  Kossi.  Ordinary  existence  had  almost  disap- 
peared from  her  consciousness,  and  every  time  Felice  spoke  as 
he  sei"ved  the  dishes  his  voice  seemed  to  come  from  far  away. 

She  went  to  bed  early,  but  it  was  late  before  she  slept. 

For  a  long  time  she  lay  awake  to  think  over  all  that  had  hap- 
pened, and  when  the  night  was  far  gone,  and  she  tried  to  fall 
asleep  in  order  to  dream  of  it  also,  she  could  not  do  so  for  sheer 
delight  of  the  prospect.  But  at  last,  amid  the  gathering  clouds 
of  sleep,  she  said  "  Good-night "  with  the  ghost  of  a  kiss,  and 
slept  until  morning. 

When  she  awoke  it  was  late  and  the  sun  was  shining  into 
the  room.  She  lay  on  her  back  and  stretched  out  both  arms 
for  sheer  sweetness  of  the  sensation  of  health  and  love. 
Everything  was  well,  and  she  was  very  hai^py.  Thinking  of 
yesterday,  she  was  even  sorry  for  the  Baron,  and  told  herself  she 
had  been  too  bold  and  daring. 

But  that  thought  was  gone  in  a  moment.  Body  and  soul 
were  suffused  with  joy,  and  she  leapt  out  of  bed  with  a  spring. 

A  moment  afterwards  Natalina  came  with  a  letter.  It  was 
from  the  Baron  himself,  and  it  was  dated  the  day  before : 

"  Minghelli  has  returned  from  London,  and  therefore  I  must 
see  you  to-morrow  at  eleven  o'clock.  Be  so  good  as  to  be  at 
home,  and  give  orders  that  for  half-an-hour  at  least  we  shall 
be  quite  undisturbed " 

Then  the  sun  went  out,  the  air  grew  dull,  and  darkness  fell 
over  all  the  world. 


PART   FIYE 
THE  PRIME  MINISTER 


It  was  Sunday.  The  storm  threatened  by  the  sunset  of  the 
day  before  had  not  yet  come,  but  the  sun  was  struggling 
through  a  veil  of  clouds,  and  a  black  ridge  was  rising  over  the 
horizon. 

At  eleven  o'clock  to  the  moment  the  Baron  arrived.  As 
usual,  he  was  faultlessly  dressed,  and  he  looked  cool  and  tran- 
quil. 

"  I  am  to  show  you  into  this  room,  Excellency,"  said  Felice, 
leading  the  way  to  the  boudoir. 

"Thanks!  .  .  .  Anything  to  tell  me,  Felice?" 

"  Nothing,  Excellency,"  said  Felice.  Then,  pointing  to  the 
plaster  bust  on  its  pedestal  in  the  corner,  he  added  in  a  lower 
tone,  "  He  remained  last  night  after  the  others  had  gone, 
and  .  .  ." 

But  at  that  moment  there  was  the  rustle  of  a  woman's  dress 
outside,  and,  interrupting  Felice,  the  Baron  said  in  a  high- 
pitched  voice : 

"  Certainly;  and  please  tell  the  Countess  I  shall  not  forget 
to  look  in  upon  her  before  I  go." 

Roma  came  into  the  room  with  a  gloomy  and  firm-set  face. 
The  smile  that  seemed  always  to  play  about  her  mouth  and 
eyes  had  given  place  to  a  slight  frown  and  an  air  of  defiance. 
But  the  Baron  saw  in  a  moment  that  behind  the  lips  so  sternly 
set,  and  the  straight  look  of  the  eyes,  there  was  a  frightened 
expression,  which  she  was  trying  to  conceal.  lie  greeted  her 
with  his  accustomed  calm  and  naturalness,  kissed  her  hand, 
offered  her  the  flower  from  his  buttonhole,  put  her  to  sit  in 
the  arm-chair  with  its  back  to  the  window,  took  his  own  seat  on 
the  couch  in  front  of  it,  and  leisurely  drew  off  his  spotless 
gloves. 

253 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  253 

Not  a  word  about  the  scene  of  yesterday,  not  a  look  of  pain 
or  reproof.  Only  a  few  casual  pleasantries,  and  then  a  quiet 
gliding  into  the  business  of  his-  visit. 

"  What  an  age  since  we  were  here  alone  before !  And  what 
changes  you've  made !  Your  pretty  nest  is  like  a  cell !  Well, 
I've  obeyed  your  mandate,  you  see.  I've  stayed  away  for  a 
month.  It  was  hard  to  do — bitterly  hard — and  many  a  time 
I've  told  myself  it  was  imprudent.  But  you  were  a  woman. 
You  were  inexorable.  I  was  forced  to  submit.  And  now,  what 
have  you  got  to  tell  me  ? " 

"  Xothing,"  she  answered,  looking  straight  before  her. 

"  Nothing  whatever  ?  " 

"  Toothing  whatever." 

She  did  not  move  or  turn  her  face,  and  he  sat  for  a  mo- 
ment watching  her.  Then  he  rose,  and  began  to  move  about 
the  room. 

"  Let  us  understand  each  other,  my  child,"  he  said,  gent- 
ly. "  Will  you  forgive  me  if  I  recall  facts  that  are  fa- 
miliar?" 

She  did  not  answer,  but  looked  fixedly  into  the  fire,  while 
he  leaned  on  the  stove  and  stood  face  to  face  with  her. 

"  A  month  ago,  a  certain  Deputy,  an  obstructionist  politi- 
cian, who  has  for  years  made  the  task  of  government  difiicult, 
uttered  a  seditious  speech,  and  brought  himself  within  the 
power  of  the  law.  In  that  speech  he  also  attacked  me,  and — 
shall  I  say? — grossly  slandered  you.  Parliament  was  not  in 
session,  and  I  was  able  to  order  his  arrest.  In  due  course,  he 
would  have  been  punished,  perhaps  by  imprisonment,  perhaps 
by  banishment,  but  you  thought  it  prudent  to  inteiwene.  You 
urged  reasons  of  policy  which  were  wise  and  far-seeing.  I 
yielded,  and  to  the  bewilderment  of  my  officials,  I  ordered  the 
Deputy's  release.  But  he  was  not  therefore  to  escape.  You 
undertook  his  punishment.  In  a  subtle  and  more  effectual  way, 
you  were  to  wipe  out  the  injury  he  had  done,  and  requite  him 
for  his  offence.  The  man  was  a  mystery — you  were  to  fijid  out 
all  about  him.  He  was  suspected  of  intrigue — you  were  to  dis- 
cover his  conspiracies.  Within  a  month,  you  were  to  deliver 
him  into  my  hands,  and  I  was  to  know  the  inmost  secrets  of  his 
soul." 

It  was  with  difficulty  that  Eoma  maintained  her  calmness 
while  the  Baron  was  speaking,  but  she  only  shook  a  stray  lock 
of  hair  from  her  forehead,  and  sat  silent. 

"  Well,  the  month  is  over.     I  have  given  you  every  oppor- 


254  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

tunity  to  deal  with  our  friend  as  you  thought  best.  Have  you 
found  out  anything  about  him?" 

She  put  on  a  bold  front,  and  answered :  "  No." 

"So  your  effort  has  failed?" 

"  Absolutely." 

"  Then  you  are  likely  to  give  up  your  plan  of  punishing 
the  man  for  defaming  and   degrading  you  ?  " 

"  I  have  given  it  up  already." 

"  Strange !  Very  strange !  Very  unfortunate  also,  for  we 
are  at  this  moment  at  a  crisis  when  it  is  doubly  important  to 
the  Government  to  possess  the  information  you  set  out  to  find. 
Still,  your  idea  was  a  good  one,  and  I  can  never  be  sufficiently 
grateful  to  you  for  suggesting  it.  And  although  your  efforts 
have  failed,  you  need  not  be  uneasy.  You  have  given  us  the 
clues  by  which  our  efforts  are  succeeding,  and  you  shall  yet 
punish  the  man  who  insulted  you  so  publicly  and  so  grossly." 

"  How  is  it  possible  for  me  to  punish  him  ? " 

"  By  identifying  David  Rossi  as  one  who  was  condemned  in 
contumacy  for  high  treason  sixteen  years  ago." 

"  That  is  ridiculous,"  she  said.  "  Sixteen  months  ago  I 
had  never  heard  the  name  of  David  Rossi." 

The  Baron  stooped  a  little  and  said : 

"  Had  you  ever  heard  the  name  of  David  Leone  ? " 

She  dropped  back  in  her  chair,  and  again  looked  straight 
before  her. 

"  Come,  come,  my  child,"  said  the  Baron  caressingly,  and 
moving  across  the  room  to  look  out  of  the  window,  he  tapped 
her  lightly  on  the  shoulder. 

"  I  told  you  that  Minghelli  had  returned  from  London." 

"  That  forger!  "  she  said  hoarsely. 

"  No  doubt !  One  who  spends  his  life  ferreting  out  crime 
is  apt  to  have  the  soul  of  a  criminal.  But  civilisation  needs 
its  scavengers,  and  it  was  a  happy  thought  of  yours  to  think  of 
this  one.  Indeed,  everything  we've  done  has  been  done  on 
your  initiative,  and  when  our  friend  is  finally  brought  to  jus- 
tice the  fact  will  really  be  due  to  you,  and  you  alone." 

The  defiant  look  was  disappearing  from  her  eyes,  and  she 
rose  with  an  expression  of  pain. 

"  Why  do  you  torture  me  like  this  ?  "  she  said.  "  After  what 
has  happened,  isn't  it  quite  plain  that  I  am  his  friend,  and 
not  his  enemy  ?  " 

"  Perhaps,"  said  the  Baron.  His  face  assumed  a  deathlike 
rigidity.    "  Sit  down  and  listen  to  me." 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  255 

She  sat  down,  and  he  j*eturned  to  his  place  by  the  stove. 

"  I  say  you  gave  us  the  clues  we  have  worked  upon.  Thosd 
clues  were  three.  First,  that  David  Kossi  knew  the  life-story 
of  Doctor  Roselli  in  London.  Second,  that  he  knew  the  story 
of  Doctor  Roselli's  daughter,  Roma  Roselli.  Third,  that  he 
was  for  a  time  a  waiter  at  the  Grand  Hotel  in  Rome.  Two 
minor  clues  came  independently,  that  David  Rossi  was  once  a 
stable-boy  in  New  York,  that  his  mother  drowned  herself  in 
the  Tiber,  and  he  was  brought  up  in  a  Foundling.  By  these 
five  clues  the  authorities  have  discovered  eight  facts.  PeiTnit 
me  to  recite  them." 

Leaning  his  elbow  on  the  stove  and  opening  his  hand,  the 
Baron  ticked  off  the  facts  one  by  one  on  his  fingers. 

"  Fact  one.  Some  thirty  odd  years  ago  a  woman  carrying 
a  child  presented  herself  at  the  office  in  Rome  for  the  registry 
of  births.  She  gave  the  name  of  Leonora  Leone,  and  wished 
her  child,  a  boy,  to  be  registered  as  David  Leone.  But  the 
officer  in  attendance  discovered  that  the  woman's  name  was 
Leonora  Rossi,  and  that  she  had  been  married  according  to  the 
religious  rites  of  the  Church  but  not  according  to  the  civil 
regulations  of  the  State.  The  child  was  therefore  registered  as 
David  Rossi,  son  of  Leonora  Rossi  and  of  a  father  unknown." 

"  Shameful !  "  cried  Roma.    "  Shameful !    Shameful !  " 

"  Fact  two,"  said  the  Baron,  without  the  change  of  a  tone. 
"  One  night  a  little  later  the  body  of  a  woman  found  drowned 
in  the  Tiber  was  recognised  as  the  body  of  Leonora  Rossi,  and 
buried  in  the  pauper  part  of  the  Campo  Verano  under  that 
name.  The  same  night  a  child  was  placed  by  an  unknown  hand 
in  the  rota  of  Santo  Spirito,  with  a  paper  attached  to  its  wrist, 
giving  particulars  of  its  baptism  and  its  name.  Its  name  was 
David  Leone." 

The  Baron  ticked  off  the  third  of  his  fingers  and  continued : 

"  Fact  three.  Fourteen  years  afterwards  a  boy  named 
David  Leone,  fourteen  years  of  age,  was  living  in  the  house  of 
an  Italian  exile  in  London.  The  exile  was  a  Roman  prince 
under  the  incognito  of  Doctor  Roselli ;  his  family  consisted  of 
his  wife  and  one  child,  a  daughter  named  Roma,  four  years  of 
age.  David  Leone  had  been  adopted  by  Doctor  Roselli,  who 
had  picked  him  up  in  the  street." 

Roma  covered  her  face  with  her  hands. 

"  Fact  four.  Four  years  later  a  conspiracy  to  assassinate 
the  King  of  Italy  was  discovered  at  Milan.  The  chief  con- 
spirator turned  out  to  be,  unfortunately,  the  English  exile. 


256  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

known  as  Doctor  Roselli.  By  the  good  offices  of  a  kinsman, 
jealous  of  the  honour  of  his  true  family  name,  he  was  not 
brought  to  public  trial,  but  deported  by  one  of  the  means 
adopted  by  all  Governments  when  secrecy  or  safety  are  in  ques- 
tion. But  his  confederates  and  correspondents  were  shown 
less  favour,  and  one  of  them,  still  in  England,  being  tried  in 
contumacy  by  a  military  court  which  sat  during  a  state  of 
siege,  was  condemned  for  high  treason  to  the  military  punish- 
ment of  death.  The  name  of  that  confederate  and  correspond- 
ent was  David  Leone." 

Roma's  slippered  foot  was  beating  the  floor  fast,  but  the 
Baron  went  on  in  his  cool  and  tranquil  tone. 

"  Fact  five.  Our  extradition  treaty  excluded  the  delivery  of 
political  offenders,  btit  after  representations  from  Italy,  David 
Leone  left  England.  He  went  to  America.  There  he  was  first 
employed  in  the  stables  of  the  Tramway  Company  in  New 
York,  and  lived  in  the  Italian  quarter  of  the  city,  but  after- 
wards he  rose  out  of  his  poverty  and  low  position,  and  became  a 
journalist.  In  that  character  he  attracted  attention  by  a  new 
political  and  religious  propaganda.  Jesus  Christ  was  law-giver 
for  the  nation  as  well  as  for  the  individual,  and  the  redemp- 
tion of  the  world  was  to  be  brought  to  pass  by  a  constitution 
based  on  the  precepts  of  the  Lord's  Prayei*.  The  creed  was  suf- 
ficiently sentimental  to  be  seized  upon  by  fanatics  in  that  coun- 
try of  countless  faiths,  but  it  cut  at  the  roots  of  order,  of 
property,  even  of  patriotism,  and  being  interpreted  into  action 
seemed  likely  to  lead  to  riot." 

The  Baron  twisted  the  ends  of  his  moustache,  and  said,  with 
a  smile :  "  David  Leone  disappeared  from  ISTew  York.  From 
that  time  forward  no  trace  of  him  has  yet  been  found.  He  was 
as  much  gone  as  if  he  had  ceased  to  exist.  David  Leone  was 
dead." 

Roma's  hands  had  come  down  from  her  face,  and  she  was 
picking  at  the  buttons  of  her  blouse  with  twitching  fingers. 

"  Fact  six,"  said  the  Baron,  ticking  off  the  thumb  of  his 
other  hand.  "  Twenty-five  or  six  years  after  the  registration  of 
the  child  David  Rossi  in  Rome,  a  man,  apparently  twenty-five 
or  six  years  of  age,  giving  the  name  of  David  Rossi,  arrived  in 
England  from  America.  He  called  at  a  baker's  shop  in  Soho 
to  ask  for  Roma  Roselli,  the  daughter  of  Doctor  Roselli,  left 
behind  In  London  when  the  exile  returned  to  Italy.  They  told 
him  that  Roma  Roselli  was  dead  and  buried." 

Roma's  face,  which  had  been  pale  until  now,  began  to  glow 


THE  PRIME   MINISTER  257 

like  a  fire  on  a  gloomy  night,  and  her  foot  beat  faster  and 
faster. 

"  Fact  seven.  David  Rossi  appeared  in  Rome,  first  as  a 
waiter  at  the  Grand  Hotel,  but  soon  afterwards  as  a  journalist 
and  public  lecturer,  propounding  precisely  the  same  propa- 
ganda as  that  of  David  Leone  in  New  York,  and  exciting  the 
same  interest." 

"Well?  What  of  it?"  said  Roma.  "David  Leone  was 
David  Leone,  and  David  Rossi  is  David  Rossi — there  is  no  more 
in  it  than  that." 

The  Baron  clasped  his  hands  so  tight  that  his  knuckles 
cracked,  and  said,  in  a  slightly  exalted  tone : 

"  Eighth  and  last  fact.  About  that  time  a  man  called  at  the 
office  of  the  Campo  Santo  to  know  where  he  was  to  find  the 
grave  of  Leonora  Leone,  the  woman  who  had  drowned  herself 
in  the  Tiber  twenty-six  years  before.  The  pauper  trench  had 
been  dug  up  over  and  over  again  in  the  interval,  but  the  officials 
gave  him  their  record  of  the  place  where  she  had  once  been 
buried.  He  had  the  spot  measured  off  for  him,  and  he  went 
down  on  his  knees  before  it.  Hours  passed,  and  he  was  still 
kneeling  there.  At  length  night  fell,  and  the  officers  had  to 
warn  him  away." 

Roma's  foot  had  ceased  to  beat  on  the  floor,  and  she  was 
rising  in  her  chair. 

"  That  man,"  said  the  Baron,  "  the  only  human  being  who 
ever  thought  it  worth  while  to  look  up  the  grave  of  the  poor 
suicide,  Leonora  Rossi,  the  mother  of  David  Leone,  was  David 
Rossi.  Who  was  David  Leone  ? — David  Rossi !  Who  was 
David  Rossi? — David  Leone!  The  circle  had  closed  around 
him — the  evidence  was  complete." 

"Oh!    Oh!    Oh!" 

Roma  had  leapt  up  and  was  walking  about  the  room.  Her 
lips  were  compressed  with  scorn,  her  eyes  were  flashing,  and  she 
burst  into  a  torrent  of  words,  which  spluttered  out  of  her 
quivering  lips. 

"  Oh,  to  think  of  it !  To  think  of  it !  You  are  right !  The 
man  who  spends  his  life  looking  for  crime  must  have  the  soul 
of  a  criminal !  He  has  no  conscience,  no  humanity,  no  mercy, 
no  pity.  And  when  he  has  tracked  and  dogged  a  man  to  his 
mother's  grave — his  mother's  grave — he  can  dine,  he  can  laugh, 
he  can  go  to  the  theatre!  Oh,  I  cannot  endure  you!  I  hate 
you !    There,  I've  told  you !    T^ow,  do  with  me  as  you  please !  " 

The  deathlike  rigidity  in  the  Baron's  face  decomposed  into 


258  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

an  expression  of  intense  pain,  but  he  only  passed  his  hand  over 
his  brow,  and  said,  after  a  moment  of  silence : 

"  My  child,  you  are  not  only  offending  me,  you  are  offending 
the  theory  and  principle  of  Justice.  Justice  has  nothing  to  do 
with  pity.  In  the  vocabulary  of  Justice,  there  is  but  one  word 
—duty.  Duty  called  upon  me  to  fix  this  man's  name  upon  him, 
that  his  obstructions,  his  slanders,  and  his  evil  influence  may 
be  at  an  end.  And  now  Justice  calls  upon  you  to  do  the 
same." 

The  Baron  leaned  against  the  stove,  and  spoke  in  a  calm 
voice,  while  Koma,  in  her  agitation,  continued  to  walk  about 
the  room. 

"  Being  a  Deputy,  and  Parliament  being  in  session,  David 
Rossi  can  only  be  arrested  by  the  authorisation  of  the  Chamber. 
In  order  to  obtain  that  authorisation,  it  is  necessary  that  the 
Attorney-General  should  draw  up  a  statement  of  the  case.  The 
statement  must  be  presented  by  the  Attorney-General  to  the 
Government,  by  the  Government  to  the  President,  by  the  Presi- 
dent to  a  Committee,  and  by  the  Committee  to  Parliament. 
Towards  this  statement  the  police  have  already  obtained  im- 
portant testimony,  and  a  complete  chain  of  circumstantial  evi- 
dence has  been  prepared.  But  they  lack  one  link  of  positive 
proof,  and  until  that  link  is  obtained,  the  Attorney-General  is 
unable  to  proceed.  It  is  the  keystone  of  the  arch,  the  central 
fact,  without  which  all  other  facts  fall  to  pieces — the  testimony 
of  somebody  who  can  swear,  if  need  be,  that  she  knew  both 
David  Leone  and  David  Rossi,  and  can  identify  the  one  with 
the  other." 

"Well?" 

The  Baron,  who  had  stopped,  continued  in  a  calm  voice: 
"  My  dear  Roma,  need  I  go  on  ?  Dead  as  a  Minister  is  to  all 
sensibility,  I  had  hoped  to  spare  you.  T|;iere  is  only  one  person 
known  to  me  who  can  supply  that  link.  That  person  is  your- 
self." 

Roma's  eyes  were  red  with  anger  and  terror,  but  she  tried  to 
laugh  over  her  fear. 

"  How  simple  you  are,  after  all !  "  she  said.  "  It  was  Roma 
Rosclli  who  knew  David  Leone,  wasn't  it?  Well,  Roma  Roselli 
is  dead  and  buried.  Oh,  I  know  all  the  story.  You  did  that 
yourself,  and  now  it  cuts  the  ground  from  under  you." 

"  My  dear  Roma,"  said  the  Baron,  with  a  hard  and  angry 
face,  "  if  I  did  anything  in  that  matter  it  was  done  for  your 
welfare,  but  whatever  it  was,  it  need  not  disturb  me  now. 


THE  PRIME   MINISTER  259 

Roma  Eoselli  is  not  dead,  and  it  would  be  easy  to  bring  people 
from  England  to  say  so." 

"You  daren't!  You  know  you  daren't!  It  would  expose 
them  to  persecution  for  perpetrating  a  crime." 

"  In  England,  not  in  Italy." 

Roma's  red  eyes  fell,  and  the  Baron  began  to  speak  in  a 
caressing  voice. 

"  My  child,  don't  fence  with  me.  It  is  so  painful  to  silence 
you.  ...  It  is  perhaps  natural  that  you  should  sympathise 
Avith  the  weaker  side.  That  is  the  sweet  and  tender  if  illogi- 
cal way  of  all  women.  But  you  must  not  imagine  that  when 
David  Rossi  has  been  arrested  ho  will  be  walked  off  to  his  death. 
As  a  matter  of  fact,  he  must  go  through  a  new  trial,  he  must  be 
defended,  his  sentence  must  in  any  case  be  reduced  to  imprison- 
ment, and  it  may  even  be  wiped  out  altogether.    That's  all." 

"  All  ?    And  you  ask  me  to  help  you  to  do  that  ?  " 

"  Certainly." 

"  I  won't !  " 

"  Then  you  could  if  you  would  ?  " 

"I  can't! 

"  Your  first  word  was  the  better  one,  my  child." 

"  Very  well,  I  won't !  I  won't !  Aren't  you  ashamed  to 
ask  me  to  do  such  a  thing?  According  to  your  own  story, 
David  Leone  was  my  father's  friend,  yet  you  wish  me  to  give 
him  up  to  the  law  that  he  may  be  imprisoned,  perhaps  for  life, 
and  at  least  turned  out  of  Parliament.  Do  you  suppose  I  am 
capable  of  treachery  like  that  ?  Do  you  judge  of  everybody  by 
yourself?  .  .  .  Ah,  I  know  that  story,  too!  For  shame!  For 
shame !  " 

The  Baron  was  silent  for  a  moment,  and  then  said  in  an 
impressive  voice : 

"  I  will  not  discuss  that  subject  with  you  now,  my  child— 
you  are  excited,  and  don't  quite  know  what  yovi  are  saying.  I 
will  only  point  out  to  you  that  even  if  David  Leone  was  your 
father's  friend,  David  Rossi  was  your  own  enemy." 

"  What  of  that  ?  It's  my  own  affair,  isn't  it  ?  If  I  choose  to 
forgive  him,  what  matter  is  it  to  anybody  else?  I  do  forgive 
him !     Now,  whose  business  is  it  except  my  own  ?  " 

"  My  dear  Roma,  I  might  tell  you  that  it's  mine  also,  and 
that  the  insult  that  went  through  you  was  aimed  at  me.  But 
I  will  not  speak  of  myself.  .  .  .  That  you  should  change  your 
plans  so  entirely,  and  setting  out  a  month  ago  to  .  .  .  to  .  .  . 
shall  I  say  betray  .  .  .  this  man  Rossi,  you  are  now  striving  to 


2G0  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

save  him,  is  a  fact  which  admits  of  only  one  explanation,  and 
that  is  that  .  .  .  that  you  .  .  ." 

"  That  I  love  him — yes,  that's  the  truth,"  said  Roma  boldly, 
but  flushing  up  to  the  eyes  and  trembling  with  fear. 

There  was  a  deathlike  pause  in  the  duel.  Both  dropped 
their  heads,  and  the  silent  face  in  the  bust  seemed  to  be  looking 
down  on  them.  Then  the  Baron's  icy  cheeks  quivered  visibly, 
and  he  said  in  a  low,  hoarse  voice: 

"  I'm  sorry !  Very  sorry !  For  in  that  case  I  may  be  com- 
pelled to  justify  your  conclusion  that  a  Minister  has  no  human- 
ity and  no  pity.  It  may  even  be  necessary  to  play  the  part  of 
the  husband  in  the  cruel  stor'y  of  the  lover's  heart.  If  David 
Rossi  cannot  be  arrested  by  the  authorisation  of  Parliament  he 
must  be  arrested  when  Parliament  is  not  in  session,  and  then 
liis  identity  will  have  to  be  established  in  a  public  tribunal.  In 
that  event  you  will  be  forced  to  appear,  and  having  refused  to 
make  a  private  statement  in  the  secrecy  of  a  magistrate's  office, 
you  will  be  compelled  to  testify  in  the  Court  of  Assize." 

"Ah,  but  you  can't  make  me  do  that !  "  cried  Roma  excit- 
edly, as  if  seized  by  a  sudden  thought. 

"Why  not?" 

"  Never  mind  why  not.  That's  my  secret.  You  can't  do  it, 
I  tell  you,"  she  cried  excitedly. 

He  looked  at  her  as  if  trying  to  penetrate  her  meaning,  and 
then  said : 

"  We  shall  see." 

At  that  moment  the  fretful  voice  of  the  Countess  was 
heard  calling  to  the  Baron  from  the  adjoining  room. 


II 

Roma  went  to  her  bedroom  when  the  Baron  left  her,  and 
remained  there  until  late  in  the  afternoon.  In  spite  of  the  bold 
front  she  had  put  on,  she  was  quaking  with  terror,  and  tortured 
by  remorse.  ISTever  before  had  she  realised  David  Rossi's  peril 
with  such  awful  vividness,  and  seen  her  own  position  in  rela- 
tion to  him  with  such  hideous  nakedness. 

Was  it  her  duty  to  confess  to  David  Rossi  that  at  the  begin- 
ning of  their  friendship  she  had  set  out  to  betray  him  ?  Only  so 
could  she  be  secure,  only  so  could  she  be  honest,  only  so  could 
she  be  true  to  the  love  he  gave  her  and  the  trust  he  reposed 
in  her. 


THE  PRIME   MINISTER  261 

Yet  why  should  she  confess  ?  The  abominable  impulse  was 
gone.  Something  sweet  and  tender  had  taken  its  place.  To  con- 
fess to  him  now  would  be  cruel.  It  would  wound  his  beautiful 
faith  in  her. 

And  yet  the  seeds  she  had  sown  were  beginning  to  fructify. 
They  might  spring  up  anj-where  at  any  moment,  and  choke  the 
life  that  was  dearer  to  her  than  her  own.  Thank  God,  it  was 
still  impossible  to  injure  him  except  by  her  will  and  assistance. 
But  her  will  might  be  broken  and  her  assistance  might  be 
forced,  unless  the  law  could  be  invoked  to  protect  her  against 
itself.  It  could  and  it  should  be  invoked !  When  she  was  mar- 
ried to  David  Kossi  no  law  in  Italy  would  compel  her  to  witness 
against  him. 

But  if  Kossi  hesitated  from  any  cause,  if  he  delayed  their 
marriage,  if  he  replied  unfavourable  to  the  letter  in  which  she 
had  put  aside  all  modesty  and  asked  him  to  marry  her  soon — 
what  then  ?  How  was  she  to  explain  his  danger  ?  How  was  she 
to  tell  him  that  he  must  marry  her  before  Parliament  rose,  or 
she  might  be  the  means  of  expelling  him  from  the  Chamber, 
and  perhaps  casting  him  into  prison  for  life?  How  was  she 
to  say :  "  I  was  Delilah,  I  set  out  to  betray  you,  and  unless  you 
marry  me  the  wicked  work  is  done !  " 

The  afternoon  was  far  spent,  she  had  eaten  nothing  since 
morning,  and  was  lying  face  down  on  the  bed,  when  a  knock 
came  to  the  door. 

"  The  person  in  the  studio  to  see  you,"  said  Felice. 

It  was  Bruno  in  Sunday  attire,  with  little  Joseph  in  top- 
boots,  and  more  than  ever  like  the  cub  of  a  young  lion. 

"  A  letter  from  him,  miss,"  said  Bruno. 

It  was  from  Rossi.  She  took  it  without  a  word  of  greeting, 
and  went  back  to  her  bedroom.  But  when  she  returned  a 
moment  afterwards,  her  face  was  transformed.  The  clouds  had 
gone  from  it,  and  the  old  radisnce  had  returned.  All  the 
brightness  and  gaiety  of  her  usual  expression  were  there  as  she 
came  swinging  into  the  drawing-room,  and  filling  the  air  with 
the  glow  of  health  and  happiness. 

"  That's  all  right,"  she  said.  "  Tell  :Mr.  Rossi  I  shall  expect 
to  see  him  soon  ...  or  no,  don't  say  that  .  .  .  say  that  as  he 
is  over  head  and  ears  in  work  this  week  he  is  not  to  think  it 
necessary.  .  .  .  Oh,  say  anything  you  like,"  she  said,  and  the 
pearly  teeth  and  lovely  eyes  broke  into  an  aurora  of  smiles. 

Bruno,  whose  bushy  face  and  shaggy  head  had  never  once 
been  raised  since  he  came  into  the  room,  said : 


262  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  He's  busy  enough,  anyway — what  with  this  big  meeting 
coming  off  on  Wednesday,  and  the  stairs  to  his  rooms  as  full 
of  people  as  the  Santa  Scala." 

"  So  you've  brought  little  Joseph  to  see  me  at  last  ? "  said 
Roma. 

"  He  has  bothered  my  life  out  to  bring  him,  ever  since  you 
said  he  was  to  be  your  porter  some  day." 

"  And  why  not  ?  Gentlemen  ought  to  call  on  the  ladies, 
oughtn't  they,  Joseph  ?  " 

And  Joseph,  whose  curly  poll  had  been  hiding  behind  the 
leg  of  his  father's  trousers,  showed  half  of  a  face  that  was 
shining  all  over. 

"  Listen !  "  said  Roma,  with  a  merry  twinkle.  A  band  of 
music  was  going  through  the  piazza  on  its  way  home  from  the 
Pincian  gardens.  "  Let  us  go  and  look  at  them,"  said  Roma, 
and,  taking  hold  of  Joseph's  hand,  she  skipped  off  with  him  to 
her  boudoir,  and  put  him  to  stand  on  the  writing-desk  in  front 
of  the  window. 

"  It's  the  '  Royal  March,'  isn't  it,  Joseph  ?  You  know  the 
*  Royal  March  '  ?  Of  course  you  do !  And  look  at  the  people, 
and  the  priests,  and  the  monks,  and  the  students,  and  the  car- 
riages, and  the  dogs,  and  the  perambulators,  and  the  motor- 
cars, and  the  babies  and  the  nurses,  and  the  little  boys  and  girls. 
Beautiful !  Isn't  it  beautiful  ?  But,  see !  See  here — do  you 
know  who  this  is?    This  gentleman  in  the  bust?  " 

"  Uncle  David,"  said  the  boy. 

"  What  a  clever  boy  you  are,  Joseph !  " 

"  Doesn't  want  much  cleverness  to  know  that,  though,"  said 
Brvnio,  from  the  door.  "It's  wonderful!  It's  magnificent! 
And  it  will  shut  up  all  their  damned  .  .  .  excuse  me,  miss, 
excuse  me." 

"  And  Joseph  still  intends  to  be  a  porter  ?  " 

"  Dead  set  on  it,  and  says  he  wouldn't  change  his  profes- 
sion to  be  a  king." 

"  Quite  right,  too !  And  now  let  us  look  at  something  a  little 
birdie  brought  me  the  other  day.  Come  along,  Joseph.  Here 
it  is !  Down  on  your  knees,  gentleman,  and  help  me  drag  it 
out.    One^two — and  away !  " 

From  the  knee-hole  of  the  desk  came  a  large  cardboard  box, 
and  Joseph's  eyes  glistened  like  big  black  beads. 

"  i^ow,  what  do  you  think  is  in  this  box,  Joseph  ?  Can't 
guess?  Give  it  up?  Sure?  Well,  listen!  Are  you  listening? 
Which  do  you  think  you  would  like  best — a  porter's  cocked 


THE  PHIME  MINISTER  263 

hat,  or  a  porter's  long  coat,  or  a  porter's  mace  with  a  gilt  head 
and  a  tassel  ?  " 

Joseph's  face,  which  had  gleamed  at  every  item,  clouded  and 
cleared,  cleared  and  clouded  at  the  cruel  difficulty  of  choice, 
and  finally  looked  over  at  Bruno  for  help. 

"  Choose  now — which  ?  " 

But  Joseph  only  sidled  over  to  his  father  and  whispered 
something  which  Roma  could  not  hear. 

"  What  docs  he  say  ?  " 

"  He  says  it  is  his  birthday  on  Wednesday,"  said  Bruno. 

"  Bless  him !  He  shall  have  them  all,  then,"  said  Koma,  and 
Joseph's  legs,  as  well  as  his  eyes,  began  to  dance. 

The  cords  were  cut,  the  box  was  opened,  the  wonderful  hat 
and  coat  and  mace  were  taken  out,  and  Joseph  was  duly  in- 
vested. In  the  midst  of  this  ceremony  Roma's  black  poodle  came 
bounding  into  the  room,  and  when  Joseph  strutted  out  of  the 
boudoir  into  the  drawing-room  the  dog  went  leaping  and  bark- 
ing beside  him. 

"  Dear  little  soul !  "  said  Roma,  looking  after  the  child ;  but 
Bruno,  who  was  sitting  with  his  head  down,  only  answered  with 
a  groan. 

Roma  looked  at  him,  and  saw  for  the  first  time  that  his 
simple  face  was  troubled.  It  bore  an  expression  of  almost 
comical  sadness,  and  his  dog's  ej'es  were  wet  and  gloomy. 

"  What  is  the  matter,  Bruno  ?  "  she  asked. 

He  brushed  his  coat-sleeve  across  his  eyes,  set  his  teeth, 
and  said  with  a  savage  fierceness : 

"  What's  the  matter  ?  Treason's  the  matter,  telling  tales  and 
taking  away  a  good  woman's  character — that's  what  is  the  mat- 
ter !  A  man  who  has  been  eating  your  bread  for  years  has  been 
lying  about  you,  and  he  is  a  rascal  and  a  sneak  and  a  damned 
scoundrel,  and  I  would  like  to  kick  him  out  of  the  house." 

"  And  who  has  been  doing  all  this,  Bruno  ?  " 

"  Myself.  It  was  I  who  told  Mr.  Rossi  the  lies  that  made 
him  speak  against  you  on  the  day  of  the  Pope's  Jubilee,  and 
when  5^ou  asked  him  to  come  here  I  warned  him  against  you, 
and  said  you  were  only  going  to  pay  him  back  and  ruin  him." 

"  So  you  said  that,  did  you?  " 

"  Yes,  I  did." 

"  And  what  did  Mr.  Rossi  say  to  yoii  ?  " 

"  Say  to  me?  I  wonder  he  didn't  kill  me.  '  She's  a  good 
woman,'  says  he,  '  and  if  I  have  ever  said  otherwise,  I  take  it 
all  back,  and  am  ashamed.'  " 


204  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"He  said  that,  did  he?" 

"  He  did.  But  the  devil  was  in  me,  and  I  wasn't  convinced. 
Only  yesterday  I  told  him  not  to  come  to  your  reception,  be- 
cause I  had  seen  your  bust  the  morning  you  began,  and  it  was  a 
caricature,  and  meant  for  Judas." 

"  And  what  did  Mr.  Kossi  say  to  that?  " 

"  '  Bruno,'  he  said,  '  if  Donna  Koma  had  used  my  head  for 
Satan  I  should  believe  in  her  the  same  as  ever.'  And  now  you 
are  heaping  coals  of  fire  on  me,  and  I  can't  bear  it,  and  I  won't." 

Roma,  who  had  turned  to  the  window,  heaved  a  sigh  and 
said :  "  It  has  all  come  out  right  in  the  end,  Bruno.  If  you 
hadn't  spoken  against  me  to  Mr.  Rossi,  he  wouldn't  have  spoken 
against  me  in  the  piazza,  and  then  he  and  I  should  never  have 
met  and  known  each  other  and  been  friends.  All's  well  that 
ends  well,  you  know." 

"  Perhaps  so,  but  the  miracle  doesn't  make  the  saint,  and 
you  oughtn't  to  keep  me  any  longer." 

"  Do  you  mean  that  I  ought  to  dismiss  you  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  Bruno,"  said  Roma,  "  I  am  in  trouble  just  now,  and  I  may 
be  in  worse  trouble  by  and  by.  I  am  to  be  poor,  and  my  enemies 
are  going  to  be  cruel  and  merciless.  I  don't  know  how  long  I 
may  be  able  to  keep  you  as  a  servant,  but  I  may  want  you  as  a 
friend,  and  if  you  leave  me  now  .  .  ." 

"  Oh,  put  it  like  that,  miss,  and  I'll  never  leave  you,  and  as 
for  enemies  .  .  ." 

Bruno  was  doubling  up  the  sleeve  of  his  right  arm,  when 
Joseph  and  the  poodle  came  back  to  the  room.  Roma  received 
them  with  a  merry  cry,  and  there  was  much  noise  and  laughter. 
At  length  the  gorgeous  garments  were  taken  off,  the  cardboard 
box  was  corded,  and  Bruno  and  the  boy  prepared  to  go. 

"  You'll  come  again,  won't  you,  Joseph  ?  "  said  Roma,  and 
the  boy's  face  beamed. 

"  I  suppose  this  little  man  means  a  good  deal  to  you, 
Bruno  ?  " 

"  Everything,"  said  Bruno.  "  God  bless  the  little  imps, 
what  would  a  man  be  without  children?  Five  francs  a  week 
richer  in  pocket  and  a  million  a  minute  poorer  in  pleasure. 
Taking  his  ease  instead  of  easing  their  little  aches,  sleeping  at 
nights  instead  of  stumping  about  the  bedroom  in  his  slippers, 
but  with  a  heart  as  hard  as  a  gizzard  and  a  soul  as  dry  as  dust. 
Isn't  that  so,  Joseph-Mazzini-Garibaldi  ?  " 

"  And  his  mother?  " 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  265 

"  Oh,  she !  She's  crazy !  I  do  believe  she'd  die,  or  disappear, 
or  drown  herself  if  anything  happened  to  that  boy." 

"And  Mr.  Rossi?" 

"  He's  been  a  second  father  to  the  boy  ever  since  the  young 
monkey  was  born." 

"  Well,  Joseph  must  come  here  sometimes,  and  let  me  try  to 
be  a  second  mother  to  him,  too.  .  .  .  What  is  he  saying  now  ?  " 

Joseph  had  dragged  down  his  father's  head  to  whisper  some- 
thing in  his  ear. 

"  He  says  he's  frightened  of  your  big  porter  downstairs." 

"  Frightened  of  him  !  He  is  only  a  man,  my  precious !  Tell 
him  you  are  a  little  Roman  boy,  and  he'll  have  to  let  you  up. 
Will  you  remember  ?    You  will  ?    That's  right !   By-bye !  " 

Before  going  to  sleep  that  night,  Roma  switched  on  the 
light  that  hung  above  her  head  and  read  her  letter  again.  She 
had  been  hoarding  it  up  for  that  secret  hour,  and  now  she  was 
alone  with  it,  and  all  the  world  was  still. 

•'  Saturday  Night. 
"  My  Dear  One, — Tour  sweet  letter  brought  me  the  intoxi- 
cation of  delight,  and  the  momentous  matter  you  speak  of  is 
under  weigh.  It  is  my  turn  to  be  ashamed  of  all  the  great  to-do 
I  made  about  the  obstacles  to  our  union  when  I  see  how 
courageous  you  can  be.  Oh,  how  brave  women  are — all  women 
— eveiy  woman  who  ever  raarries  a  man !  To  take  her  heart 
into  her  hands,  and  face  the  unknown  in  the  fate  of  another 
being,  to  trust  her  life  into  his  keeping,  knowing  that  if  he 
falls  she  falls  too,  and  will  never  be  the  same  again !  What 
man  could  do  it  ?  Xot  one  who  was  ever  born  into  the  world. 
Yet  some  woman  does  it  every  day,  promising  some  man  that 
she  will — let  me  finish  your  quotation — 

"  'Meet,  if  thou  require  it, 
Both  demands, 
Laying  flesh  and  spirit 
In  thy  hands.' 

"  Dearest,  I  have  got  the  better  of  our  bargain,  and  if  I  held 
off  it  was  partly  because  I  knew  it  must  be  so.  But  what  chil- 
dren we  are,  men  and  women  who  love  each  other,  standing 
aloof  with  a  shy  fear  of  each  other,  when  we  should  join  hands 
and  play.  I  wanted  you  eveiy  moment,  and  it  was  terrible  to 
have  the  dearest  thing  in  the  world  within  one's  reach  and  feel 
compelled  to  put  it  away.  But  that  is  all  over  now.  I  am  going 
18 


266  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

to  live  at  last,  to  face  the  world  with  a  new  front,  and  to  leave 
the  future  in  the  hands  of  God. 

"  Don't  think  I  am  too  much  troubled  about  the  Minghelli 
matter,  and  yet  it  is  pitiful  to  think  how  merciless  the  world 
can  be  even  in  the  matter  of  a  man's  name.  A  name  is  only  a 
word,  but  it  is  everything  to  the  man  who  bears  it — ^honour 
or  dishonour,  poverty  or  Avealth,  a  blessing  or  a  curse.  If  it  is 
a  good  name,  everybody  tries  to  take  it  away  from  him,  but  if 
it's  a  bad  name  and  he  has  attempted  to  drop  it,  everybody  tries 
to  fix  it  on  him  afresh. 

"  The  name  I  was  compelled  to  leave  behind  me  when  I  re- 
turned to  Italy,  was  a  bad  name  in  nothing  except  that  it  was 
the  name  of  my  father,  and  if  the  spies  and  ferrets  of  authority 
ever  fix  it  upon  me,  God  only  knows  what  mischief  they  may  do. 
But  one  thing  /  know — that  if  they  do  fix  my  father's  name 
upon  me,  and  bring  me  to  the  penalties  which  the  law  has  im- 
posed on  it,  it  will  not  be  by  help  of  my  darling,  my  beloved,  my 
brave,  brave  girl  with  the  heart  of  gold. 

"  Dearest,  I  wrote  to  the  Capitol  immediately  on  receiving 
your  letter,  and  to-morrow  morning  I  will  go  down  myself  to 
see  that  everything  is  in  train.  I  don't  yet  know  how  many 
days  are  necessary  to  the  preparations,  but  earlier  than  Thurs- 
day it  would  not  be  wise  to  fix  the  event,  seeing  that  Wednes- 
day is  the  day  of  the  great  mass  meeting  in  the  Coliseum,  and, 
although  the  police  have  proclaimed  it,  I  have  told  the  people 
they  are  to  come.  There  is  some  risk  at  the  outset,  which  it 
would  be  reckless  to  run,  and  in  any  case,  the  time  is  short. 

"  Good-night !  I  can't  take  my  pen  off  the  paper.  Writing 
to  you  is  like  talking  to  you,  and  every  now  and  then  I  stop 
and  shut  my  eyes,  and  hear  your  voice  replying.  Only  it  is 
myself  who  make  the  answers,  and  they  are  not  half  so  sweet  as 
they  would  be  in  reality.  Ah,  dear  heart,  if  you  only  knew 
how  my  life  was  full  of  silence  until  you  came  into  it,  and  now 
it  is  full  of  music !    Good-night,  again !  D.  E. 

"  Sunday  Morning. 

"  Just  returned  from  the  Capitol.  The  legal  notice  for  the 
celebration  of  a  marriage  is  longer  than  I  expected.  It  seems 
that  the  ordinary  term  is  twelve  days  at  least,  covering  two  suc- 
cessive Sundays  (on  which  the  act  of  publication  is  posted  on 
the  board  outside  the  office)  and  three  d^ys  over.  For  grave 
and  extreme  reasons,  one  of  these  Sundays,  or  even  both,  may  be 
dispensed  with,  but  I  saw  no  ground  on  which  we  could  swear 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  267 

before  a  magistrate  that  our  ease  was  as  urgent  as  death,  so  I 
submitted  to  the  usual  regularity,  furnished  the  necessary  par- 
ticulars, and  the  first  of  our  banns  has  been  published  to-day. 
Only  twelve  days  more,  my  dear  one,  and  you  will  be  mine, 
mine,  mine,  and  all  the  world  will  know !  " 

It  took  Roma  a  good  three-quarters  of  an  hour  to  read  this 
letter,  for  nearly  eveiy  other  word  seemed  to  be  written  out  of  a 
lover's  lexicon,  which  bore  secret  meanings  of  delicious  import 
and  imperiously  demanded  their  physical  response  from  the 
reader's  lips.  At  length  she  put  it  between  the  pillow  and  her 
cheek,  to  help  the  sweet  delusion  that  she  was  cheek  to  cheek 
with  some  one  and  had  his  strong,  protecting  arms  about  her. 
Then  she  lay  a  long  time,  with  eyes  open  and  shining  in  the 
darkness,  trying  in  vain*to  piece  together  the  features  of  his 
face.  But  in  the  first  dream  of  her  first  sleep  she  saw  him 
plainly,  and  she  ran,  she  raced,  she  rushed  to  his  embrace. 

Next  day  brought  a  message  from  the  Baron. 

"  Dear  RoiL\, — Come  to  the  Palazzo  Braschi  to-morrow 
(Tuesday)  morning  at  eleven  o'clock.  Don't  refuse,  and  don't 
hesitate.  If  you  do  not  come,  you  will  regret  it  as  long  as  you 
live,  and  reproach  yourself  for  ever  afterwards. — Yours, 

"  BOXELLI." 

ni 

The  Palazzo  Braschi  is  a  triangular  palace,  whereof  one 
front  faces  to  the  Piazza  Navona  and  the  two  other  fronts  to 
side  streets.  A  magnificent  staircase,  with  sixteen  columns 
of  Oriental  granite,  six  colossal  statues,  and  a  narrow  rivulet 
of  frayed  and  dirty  druggetting  meandering  up  its  marble 
steps,  leads  to  a  cheerless  hall  on  the  topmost  storey,  where  mes- 
sengers and  porters  sit  and  lounge  in  untidy  uniforms.  This 
is  the  entrance  to  the  cabinet  of  the  Minister  of  the  Interior, 
usually  the  President  of  the  Council  and  Prime  Minister 
of  Italy. 

Eoma  arrived  at  eleven  o'clock,  and  was  taken  to  the  Min- 
ister's room  immediately,  by  way  of  an  outer  chamber,  in  which 
colleagues  and  secretaries  were  waiting  their  turn  for  an  in- 
terview. The  Baron  was  seated  at  a  table  covered  with  books 
and  papers.  There  was  a  fur  rug  across  his  knees,  and  at  his 
right  hand  lay  a  small  ivory-handled  revolver.  He  rose  as 
Roma  entered,  and  received  her  with  his  glacial  politeness. 


268  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  How  prompt !  And  how  sweet  you  look  to-day,  my  child ! 
On  a  cheerless  day  like  this  you  bring  the  sun  itself  into  a  poor 
Minister's  gloomy  cabinet.  That  simple  black  and  white  hat  is 
charming.     Sit  down." 

Roma  was  not  deceived  by  the  false  accent  of  his  wel- 
come. 

"  You  wished  to  see  me  ?  "  she  said. 

He  rested  his  elbow  on  the  table,  leaned  his  head  on  his 
hand,  looked  at  her  with  his  never-varying  smile,  and  said: 

"  I  hear  you  are  to  be  congratulated,  my  dear." 

She  changed  colour  slightly. 

"Are  you  surprised  that  I  know?"  he  asked. 

"  Why  should  I  be  surprised  ?  "  she  answered.  "  You  know 
everything.  Besides,  this  is  published  at  the  Capitol,  and 
therefore  common  knowledge." 

His  smiling  face  remained  perfectly  impassive. 

"  iSTow  I  understand  what  you  meant  on  Sunday.  It  is  a 
fact  that  a  wife  cannot  be  called  as  a  witness  against  her  hus- 
band. I  am  beaten.  I  confess  it,  and  I  congratulate  you  on 
your  acuteness." 

She  knew  he  was  watching  her  face  as  if  looking  into  the 
inmost  recesses  of  her  soul. 

"  But  isn't  it  a  little  courageous  of  you  to  think  of  mar- 
riage ?  " 

"  Why  courageous  ?  "  she  asked,  but  her  eyes  fell  and  the 
colour  mounted  to  her  cheek. 

"  Why  courageous  ?  "  he  repeated. 

He  allowed  a  short  time  to  elapse,  and  then  he  said  in  a  low 
tone,  "  Considering  the  past,  and  all  that  has  happened  .  .  ." 

Her  eyelids  trembled  and  she  rose  to  her  feet. 

"  If  this  is  all  you  wished  to  say  to  me  .  .  ." 

"  ]S[o,  no !  Sit  down,  my  child.  I  sent  for  you  in  order  to 
show  you  that  the  marriage  you  contemplate  may  be  difficult, 
perhaps  impossible." 

"  I  am  of  age — there  can  be  no  impediment." 

"  There  may  be  the  greatest  of  all  impediments,  my  dear." 

"  What  do  you  mean  ?  " 

"  I  mean  .  .  .  but  wait !  You  are  not  in  a  hurry  ?  A  num- 
ber of  gentlemen  are  waiting  to  see  me,  and  if  you  will  permit 
me  to  ring  for  my  secretary  .  .  .  Don't  move.  Colleagues 
merely!  They  will  not  object  to  2/0 wr  presence.  My  ward,  you 
know — almost  a  member  of  my  own  household.  Ah,  here  is  the 
secretary.    Who  now  ?  " 


THE   PRIME  MINISTER  269 

"  The  Minister  of  War,  the  Prefect,  Commendatore  An- 
gelelli  and  one  of  his  delegates,"  replied  the  secretary. 

"  Bring  the  Prefect  first,"  said  the  Baron,  and  a  severe 
looking  man  of  military  bearing  entered  the  room. 

"  Come  in,  Senator.  You  know  Donna  Roma.  Our  busi- 
ness is  urgent — she  will  allow  us  to  go  on.  I  am  anxious  to 
hear  how  things  stand  and  what  you  are  doing." 

The  Prefect  began  on  his  report.  Immediately  the  new 
law  was  promulgated  by  royal  decree  he  had  sent  out  a  circular 
to  all  the  ^ilayors  in  his  province,  stating  the  powers  it  gave  the 
police  to  dissolve  associations  and  to  forbid  public  meetings. 

"  But  what  can  we  expect  to  do  in  the  provincial  towns, 
your  Excellency,  while  in  the  capital  we  are  doing  nothing? 
The  chief  of  all  subversive  societies  is  in  Rome,  and  the  di- 
recting mind  is  at  large  among  ourselves.    Listen  to  this,  sir." 

The  Prefect  took  a  newspaper  from  his  pocket  and  began 
to  read : 

"Romans,  The  new  decree  law  is  an  attempt  to  deprive  us  of  lib- 
erties which  our  fathers  made  revolutions  to  establish.  It  is,  there- 
fore, our  duty  to  resist  it,  and  to  this  end  we  must  hold  our  meeting 
on  the  first  of  February  according  to  our  original  intention.  Only 
thus  can  we  show  the  Government  and  the  King  what  it  is  to  oppose 
the  public  opinion  of  the  tvorld.  .  .  .  Jfeet  in  the  Piazza  del  Pop)olo 
at  sundown  and  tvalJc  to  the  Coliseum  by  way  of  the  Corso.  Be 
peaceful  and  orderly,  and  God  put  it  into  the  hearts  of  your  rulers  to 
avert  bloodshed." 

"  That  is  from  the  Sunrise?  " 

"  Yes,  sir,  the  last  of  many  manifestoes.  And  what  is  the 
result?  The  people  are  flocking  into  Rome  from  every  part 
of  the  province." 

"  And  how  many  political  pilgrims  are  here  already  ?  " 

"  Fifty  thousand,  sixty,  perhaps  a  hundred  thousand.  It 
cannot  be  allowed  to  go  on,  your  Excellency." 

"  It  is  a  levee-en-masse  certainly.    "What  do  you  advise?  " 

"  First,  that  the  Svnrise  be  sequestered." 

"  We'll  speak  of  that  presently.     Xext  ?  " 

"  Next,  that  the  correspondents  of  foreign  newspapers  who 
send  false  inventions  and  exaggerations  abroad  be  delicately 
conducted  over  the  frontier." 

"And  next?" 

"  That  the  enemies  of  the  Government  and  the  State,  whose 


270  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

erroneous  conceptions  of  liberty  have  led  to  this  burst  of 
anarchist  feeling,  be  left  to  the  operation  of  the  police  laws." 

The  Baron  glanced  at  Roma.  Her  face  was  flushed,  and  her 
eyes  were  flashing. 

"  That,"  he  said,  "  may  be  difficult,  considering  the  num- 
ber of  the  discontented.    What  is  the  strength  of  your  police  ?  " 

"  Seven  hundred  in  uniform,  four  hundred  in  plain  clothes, 
and  five  hundred  and  fifty  municipal  guards.  Besides  these, 
sir,  there  are  three  thousand  Carabineers  and  eight  thousand 
troops." 

"  Say  twelve  thousand  five  hundred  armed  men  in  all?" 

"  Precisely,  and  what  is  that  against  fifty,  a  hundred,  per- 
haps a  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  people  ?  " 

"  You  want  the  army  at  call  ?  " 

"  Exactly,  but  above  everything  else  we  want  the  permis- 
sion of  the  Government  to  deal  with  the  greater  delinquents, 
whether  deputies  or  not,  according  to  the  powers  given  us 
by  the  Statute." 

The  Baron  rose  and  held  out  his  hand.  "  Thanks,  Senator ! 
The  Government  will  consider  your  suggestions  immediately. 
Be  good  enough  to  send  in  my  colleague,  the  Minister  of  War." 

When  the  Prefect  left  the  room  Roma  rose  to  go. 

"  You  cannot  suppose  this  is  very  agreeable  to  me  ? "  she 
said,  in  an  agitated  voice. 

"  Wait !  I  shall  not  be  long.  .  .  .  Ah,  General  Morra ! 
Roma,  you  know  the  General,  I  think.  Sit  down,  both  of 
you  .  .  .  Well,  General,  you  hear  of  this  levee-en-masse?  " 

"  I  do." 

"  The  Prefect  is  satisfied  that  the  people  are  moved  by  a 
revolutionary  organisation,  and  he  is  anxious  to  know  what 
force  we  can  put  at  his  service  to  control  it." 

The  General  detailed  his  resources.  There  were  sixteen 
thousand  men  always  under  arms  in  Rome,  and  the  War  Office 
had  called  up  the  old  timers  of  two  successive  years — perhaps 
fifty  thousand  in  all. 

"  As  a  Minister  of  State  and  your  colleague,"  said  the  Gen- 
eral, "  I  am  at  one  with  you  in  your  desire  to  safeguard  the 
cause  of  order  and  to  protect  public  institutions,  but  as  a  man 
and  a  Roman  I  cannot  but  hope  that  you  will  not  call  upon 
me  to  act  without  the  conditions  required  by  law." 

"  Indeed,  no,"  said  the  Baron,  "  and  in  order  to  make  sure 
that  our  instructions  are  carried  out  with  wisdom  and  hu- 
manity, let  these  be  the  orders  you  issue  to  your  staff:    First, 


THE  PlilME  MINISTER  271 

that  in  case  of  disturbance  to-morrow  night,  whether  at  the 
Coliseum  or  elsewhere,  the  officers  must  wait  for  the  proper 
signal  from  the  delegate  of  police." 

"Good!" 

"  IText,  that  on  receiving  the  order  to  fire,  the  soldiers  must 
be  careful  that  their  first  volley  goes  over  the  heads  of  the 
people." 

"  ExceUent !  " 

"  If  that  does  not  disperse  the  crowds,  if  they  throw  stones 
on  the  soldiers  or  otherwise  resist,  the  second  volley — I  see  no 
help  for  it— the  second  volley,  I  say,  must  be  fired  at  the  per- 
sons who  are  leading  on  the  ignorant  and  deluded  mob." 

"  Ah !  " 

The  General  hesitated,  and  Roma,  whose  breathing  came 
quick  and  short,  gave  him  a  look  of  tenderness  and  gratitude. 

"  You  agree,  General  Morra  ?  " 

"  I'm  afraid  I  see  no  alternative.  But  if  the  blood  of  their 
leader  only  infuriates  the  people,  is  the  third  volley  .  .  ." 

"  That,"  said  the  Baron,  "  is  a  contingency  too  terrible  to 
contemplate.  My  prediction  would  be  that  when  their  leader 
falls,  the  poor  misguided  people  will  fly.  But  in  all  human 
enterprises  the  last  w^ord  has  to  be  left  to  destiny.  Let  us  leave 
it  to  destiny  in  the  present  instance.  Adieu,  dear  General ! 
Be  good  enough  to  tell  my  secretary  to  send  in  the  Chief  of 
Police." 

The  Minister  of  War  left  the  room,  and  once  more  Roma 
rose  to  go. 

"  You  cannot  possibly  imagine  that  a  conversation  like 
this  ..."  she  began,  but  the  Baron  only  interrupted  her 
again. 

"  Don't  go  yet.  I  shall  be  finished  presently.  Angelelli  can- 
not keep  me  more  than  a  moment.  Ah,  here  is  the  Commenda- 
tore." 

The  Chief  of  Police  came  bowing  and  bobbing  at  every 
step,  with  the  extravagant  politeness  which  differentiates  the 
vulgar  man  from  the  well-bred. 

"  About  this  meeting  at  the  Coliseum,  Commendatore — 
has  any  authorisation  been  asked  for  it  ? " 

"  None  whatever,  your  Excellency." 

"  Then  we  may  properly  regard  it  as  seditious  ?  " 

"  Quite  properly,  your  Excellency." 

"  Listen !  You  will  put  yourself  into  communication  with 
the  Minister  of  War  immediately.    He  will  place  fifty  thou- 


27^  THE  ETEENAL  CITY 

sand  men  at  the  disposition  of  your  Prefect.  Choose  your  dele- 
gates carefully.  Instruct  them  well.  At  the  first  overt  act  of 
resistance,  let  them  give  the  word  to  fire.  After  that,  leave 
everything  to  the  military." 

"  Quite  so,  your  Excellency." 

"  Be  careful  to  keej)  yourself  in  touch  with  me  until  mid- 
night to-morrow.  It  may  be  necessary  to  declare  a  state  of 
siege,  and  in  that  event  the  royal  decree  will  have  to  be  ob- 
tained without  delay.  Prepare  your  own  staff  for  a  general 
order.  Ask  for  the  use  of  the  cannon  of  St.  Angelo  as  a  sig- 
nal, and  let  it  be  understood  that  if  the  gun  is  fired  to-morrow 
night  every  gate  of  the  city  is  to  be  closed,  every  outward 
train  is  to  be  stopped,  and  every  telegraph  office  is  to  be  put 
under  control.    You  understand  me?" 

"  Perfectly,  Excellency." 

"  After  the  signal  has  been  given  let  no  one  leave  the  city, 
and  let  no  telegraphic  message  of  any  kind  be  despatched.  In 
short,  let  Rome  from  that  hour  onward  be  entirely  under  the 
control  of  the  Government." 

"  Entirely,  your  Excellency." 

"  The  military  have  already  received  their  orders.  After 
the  call  of  the  delegate  of  police,  the  first  volley  is  to  be  fired 
over  the  heads  of  the  people  and  the  second  at  the  ringleaders 
and  chief  rioters.    But  if  any  of  these  should  escape  .  .  ." 

The  Baron  paused,  and  then  repeated  in  a  low  tone  with  the 
utmost  deliberation : 

"  I  say,  if  any  of  these  should  escape,  Commendatore  ,  .  ." 

"  They  shall  not  escape,  your  Excellency." 

There  was  a  moment  of  profound  silence,  in  which  Roma 
felt  herself  to  be  suffocating,  and  could  scarcely  restrain  the 
cry  that  was  rising  in  her  throat. 

"  Let  me  go,"  she  said,  when  the  Chief  of  Police  had  backed 
and  bowed  himself  out ;  but  again  the  Baron  pretended  to  mis- 
understand her. 

"  Only  one  more  visitor !  I  shall  be  finished  in  a  few 
minutes,"  and  then  Charles  Minghelli  was  shown  into  the 
room. 

The  man's  watchful  eyes  blinked  perceptibly  as  he  came 
face  to  face  with  Roma ;  but  he  recovered  himself  in  a  mo- 
ment, and  began  to  brush  with  his  fingers  the  breast  of  his 
frock-coat. 

"  Sit  down,  Minghelli.  You  may  speak  freely  before  Donna 
Roma.    You  owe  your  position  to  her  generous  influence,  you 


THE   PRIME   MINISTER  273 

may  remember,  and  she  is  abreast  of  all  our  business.  You've 
seen  the  Attorney-General  again  ? " 

"  Yes,  sir." 

"  And  what  is  his  decision  ?  " 

"  The  same  as  before.  He  declines  to  ask  Parliament  for 
the  arrest  of  a  Deputy  until  he  is  in  a  position  to  complete  an 
instruction  that  will  satisfy  his  conscience  and  the  law." 

"  Very  well !  In  that  case  we  must  find  some  other  means 
of  overtaking  the  delinquents  who,  though  guilty,  are  pro- 
tected by  their  privilege.  .  .  .  You  know  all  about  this  meet- 
ing at  the  Coliseum  ?  " 

Minghelli  bent  his  head. 

"  The  delegates  of  police  have  received  the  strictest  orders 
not  to  give  the  word  to  the  military  until  an  overt  act  of- re- 
sistance has  been  committed.  That  is  necessary  as  well  for  the 
safety  of  our  poor,  deluded  people  as  for  our  own  credit  in  the 
eyes  of  the  world.  But  an  act  of  rebellion  in  such  a  case  is  a 
little  thing,  Mr.  Minghelli." 

Again  Minghelli  bent  his  head. 

"  A  blow,  a  shot,  a  shower  of  stones,  and  the  peace  is  broken 
and  the  delegate  is  justified." 

A  third  time  Minghelli  bent  his  head. 

"  Unfortunately,  in  the  sorrowful  circumstances  in  which 
the  city  is  placed  an  overt  act  of  resistance  is  quite  sure  to  be 
committed." 

Minghelli  flecked  a  speck  of  dust  from  his  spotless  cuff 
and  said : 

"  Quite  sure,  your  Excellency." 

There  was  another  moment  of  profound  silence  in  which 
Roma  ielt  her  heart  beat  violently. 

"  Adieu,  Mr.  Minghelli.  Tell  my  secretary  as  you  pass  out 
that  I  wish  to  dictate  a  letter." 

The  letter  was  to  the  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs. 

"  Dear  colleague,"  dictated  the  Baron.  "  I  entirely  ap- 
prove of  the  proposal  you  have  made  to  the  Governments  of 
Europe  and  America  to  establish  a  basis  on  which  anarchists 
should  be  suppressed  by  means  of  an  international  net  through 
which  they  can  with  difficulty  escape.  My  suggestion  would 
be  the  universal  application  of  the  Belgian  clause  in  all  exist- 
ing extradition  treaties,  whereby  persons  guilty  of  regicide 
may  be  dealt  with  as  common  murderers.  In  any  case  please 
say  that  the  Government  of  Italy  intends  to  do  its  duty  to  the 
civilised  world,  and  will  look  to  the  Governments  of  other 


274  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

countries  to  allow  it  to  follow  up  and  arrest  the  criminals  who 
are  attempting  to  reconstruct  society  by  burying  it  under 
ruins." 

Notwithstanding  all  her  efforts  to  appear  calm,  Roma  felt 
as  if  she  must  go  out  into  the  streets  and  scream.  Now  she 
knew  why  she  had  been  sent  for.  It  was  in  order  that  the 
Baron  might  talk  to  her  in  parables — in  order  that  he  might 
show  her  by  means  of  an  object  lesson  as  palpable  as  pitiless, 
what  was  the  impediment  which  made  her  marriage  with  David 
Rossi  impossible. 

The  marriage  could  not  be  celebrated  until  after  eleven 
days,  but  the  meeting  at  the  Coliseum  must  take  place  to- 
morrow, and  as  surely  as  it  did  so  it  must  result  in  riot  and 
Darid  Rossi  must  be  shot ! 

The  secretary  gathered  up  his  note-book  and  left  the  room, 
and  then  the  Baron  turned  to  Roma  with  beaming  eyes,  and 
lips  expanding  to  a  smile. 

"  Finished  at  last !  A  thousand  apologies,  my  dear!  Twelve 
o'clock  already !     Let  vis  go  out  and  lunch  somewhere." 

"  Let  me  go  home,"  said  Roma. 

She  was  trembling  violently,  and  as  she  rose  to  her  feet 
she  swayed  a  little. 

"  ]\[y  dear  child !  You're  not  well.  Take  this  glass  of 
water." 

"  It's  nothing.    Let  me  go  home." 

The  Baron  walked  with  her  to  the  head  of  the  stair- 
case. 

"  I  understand  you  perfectly,"  she  said,  in  a  choking  voice, 
"  but  there  is  something  you  have  not  counted  upon  and  you  are 
quite  mistaken." 

And  making  a  great  call  on  her  resolution  she  threw  up 
her  head  and  walked  firmly  down  the  stairs. 

Immediately  on  reaching  home  she  wrote  to  David  Rossi : 

"  I  must  see  you  to-night.  Where  can  it  be  ?  To-night ! 
Mind,  to-night!     To-morrow  will  be  too  late —  Roma." 

Bruno  delivered  the  note  by  hand  and  brought  back  an 
answer : 

"  Dearest, — Come  to  the  office  at  nine  o'clock.  Sorry  I 
cannot  go  to  you.     It  is  impossible.  D.  R. 

"  P.S. — You  have  converted  Bruno  and  he  would  die  for 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER 


:io 


you.  As  for  the  '  little  Roman  boy,'  he  is  in  the  seventh  heaven 
over  your  presents,  and  says  he  must  go  up  to  Trinita  de'  Monti 
to  begin  work  at  once." 


IV 

The  atmosphere  of  a  newspaper  office  when  the  journal  is 
going  to  press  is  like  the  atmosphere  of  a  steamship  at  sea  at 
the  beginning  of  the  night.  If  all  goes  well  the  movement  is  as 
regular  and  drowsy  as  that  of  the  engines  whose  monotonous 
beat  is  heard  from  below,  but  if  anything  unusual  occurs  out- 
side, the  air  within  is  quickened  by  many  currents,  and  there 
is  a  haunting  sense  of  disaster  which  is  only  allayed  by  the 
light  of  morning  or  the  sight  of  port. 

The  office  of  the  Sunrise  at  nine  o'clock  that  night  tingled 
with  excitement.  An  outer  sheet  had  already  gone  to  press, 
and  the  machines  in  the  basement  were  working  rapidly.  In 
the  business  office  on  the  first  floor  people  were  constantly 
coming  and  going,  and  the  footsteps  on  the  stairs  of  the  com- 
posing-room sounded  through  the  walls  like  the  irregular  beat 
of  a  hammer. 

The  door  of  the  editor's  room  was  frequently  swinging  open, 
as  reporters  with  reports,  messengers  with  telegrams,  and  boys 
with  proofs  came  in  and  laid  them  on  the  desk  at  which  the 
sub-editor  sat  at  work. 

David  Rossi  stood  by  his  desk  at  the  farther  end  of  the 
room.  This  was  the  last  night  of  his  editorship  of  the  Sunrise, 
and  by  various  silent  artifices,  the  staff  were  showing  their 
sympathy  with  the  man  who  had  made  it,  and  was  forced  to 
leave  it. 

One  by  one  they  came  for  cotinsel.  or  to  take  his, last  com- 
mands. He  smiled  at  them  with  his  tired  and  kindly  smile,  but 
seemed  scarcely  conscious  of  their  attentions.  His  hair  was 
slightly  disordered,  his  loose  necktie  had  fallen  out  of  its  knot, 
and  he  looked  preoccupied  and  distraught. 

The  excitement  within  the  office  of  the  Sunrise  corre- 
sponded to  the  commotion  otitside.  The  city  was  in  a  ferment, 
and  from  time  to  time  unknown  persons,  the  spontaneous  re- 
porters of  tumultuous  days,  were  brought  in  from  the  outer 
office  to  give  the  editor  the  latest  news  of  the  night.  Another 
trainful  of  people  had  arrived  from  Milan !  Still  another  from 
Bologna  and  Carrara !     The  storm  was  growing !     Soon  would 


270  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

be  heard  the  crash  of  war!  Their  faces  were  eager,  and  their 
tone  was  one  of  triumph.  They  pitched  their  voices  high,  so 
as  to  be  heard  above  the  reverberations  of  the  machines,  whose 
deep  ihud  in  the  rooms  below  made  the  walls  vibrate  like  the 
sides  of  a  ship  at  sea. 

David  Kossi  did  not  catch  the  contagion  of  their  joy.  At 
every  fresh  announcement  his  face  clouded.  The  unofficial 
head  of  the  surging  and  straining  democracy,  which  was  filling 
itself  hourly  with  hopes  and  dreams,  was  unhappy  and  per- 
plexed. He  was  trying  to  write  his  last  message  to  his  people, 
and  he  could  not  get  it  clear  because  his  own  mind  was 
confused. 

"Romans,"  he  wrote  first,  "your  rulers  are  preparing  to  resist 
your  rigid  of  meeting,  and  you  have  nothing  to  oppose  to  the  muskets 
and  bayonets  of  their  soldiers  hut  the  hare  breasts  of  a  brave  but  peace- 
ful people.  No  matter  !  Fifty,  a  hundred,  five  hundred  of  you,  hilled 
at  the  first  volley,  and  the  day  is  won  !  The  reactionary  government 
of  Italy — all  the  reactionary  governments  of  Europe — will  be  borne 
down  by  the  righteous  indignation  of  the  ivorld." 

It  would  not  do !  He  had  no  right  to  lead  the  people  to 
certain  slaughter,  and  he  tore  up  his  manifesto  and  be- 
gan again. 

"Romans,"  he  wrote  the  second  time,  "when  reforms  cannot  be 
effected  ivithout  the  spilling  of  blood,  the  time  for  them  has  not  yet 
come,  and  it  is  the  duty  of  a  brave  and  peaceful  people  to  wait  for  the 
silent  operation  of  natural  laiv  and  the  mighty  help  of  moral  forces. 
Tlierefore  at  the  eleventh  hour  1  call  upon  you  in  the  names  of  your 
wives  and  children  to  desist  from  protest,  to  submit  to  tyranny,  to 
abandon  demonstration  which  can  only  be  made  at  the  risk  of  your 
lives,  and  to  leave  it  to  Almighty  God  to  find  some  other  way  by  which 
the  world  may  hear  the  voice  of  the  cry  of  your  suffering." 

It  was  impossible !  The  people  would  think  he  was  afraid, 
and  the  opportune  moment  would  be  lost. 

One  man  in  the  office  of  the  Sunrise  was  entirely  outside 
the  circle  of  its  electric  currents.  This  was  the  former  day- 
editor  who  had  been  appointed  by  the  proprietors  to  take  Rossi's 
place,  and  was  now  walking  about  with  a  silk  hat  on  his  head, 
taking  note  of  everything  and  exercising  a  premature  and 
gratuitous    supervision.       To-morrow    everything    would    be 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  277 

changed ;  the  subversive  policy  of  the  Sunrise  would  give  place 
to  a  loyal  constitutionalism,  and  the  tatterdemalions  of  the 
streets  would  be  no  more  seen  within  its  walls. 

David  Eossi  was  tearing  up  the  second  of  his  manifestoes 
when  this  person  came  to  say  that  a  lady  in  the  outer  office  was 
asking  to  see  him. 

"  Show  her  into  the  private  waiting-room,"  said  Rossi. 

"  But  may  I  suggest,"  said  the  man,  "  that  considering  who 
the  lady  is,  it  would  perhaps  be  better  to  see  her  elsewhere  ? " 

"  Show  her  into  the  private  room,  sir,"  said  Rossi,  and  the 
man  shrugged  his  shoulders  and  disappeared. 

As  David  Rossi  opened  the  door  of  a  small  room  at  his  right 
hand,  something  rustled  lightly  in  the  corridor  outside,  and  a 
moment  afterwards  Roma  glided  into  his  anus.  She  was  pale 
and  nervous,  and  after  a  moment  she  began  to  cry. 

"  Dear  one,"  said  Rossi,  pressing  her  head  against  his 
breast,  "  what  has  happened  ?     Tell  me  i  " 

He  kissed  her  hands  and  her  hair,  and  after  a  while  she 
lifted  her  face  and  their  lips  touched. 

"  Something  has  frightened  you.    You  look  anxious." 

"  Xo  wonder,"  she  said,  and  then  she  told  him  of  her  sum- 
mons to  the  Palazzo  Braschi,  and  of  the  business  she  saw  done 
there. 

There  was  to  be  a  riot  at  the  me:  ting  at  the  Coliseum,  be- 
cause if  need  be  the  Government  itself  would  provoke  violence. 
The  object  was  to  kill  him,  not  the  people,  and  if  he  stayed  in 
Rome  until  to-morrow  night  there  would  be  no  possibility  of 
escape. 

"  My  darling,"  she  said,  "  you  must  fly.  You  are  the  victim 
marked  out  by  all  these  preparations — you,  you,  nobody  but 
you — and,  therefore,  I  have  come  to  warn  you." 

She  was  all  in  a  tremor,  and  her  lips  twitched  with  excite- 
ment, but  his  face  cleared  while  she  spoke,  and  when  she  was 
done  he  smiled  and  kissed  her. 

"  It  is  the  best  news  I've  heard  for  days,"  he  said.  ''  If  I  am 
the  only  one  who  runs  a  risk  .  .  ." 

"Risk!  My  dearest,  don't  you  understand?  Your  life  is 
in  danger,  and  you  must  fly  before  it  is  quite  impossible." 

"  It  is  already  impossible,"  he  answered. 

"  At  this  time  to-morrow  it  will  be,  for  every  gate  will  be 
closed,  and  every  train  out  of  the  city  stopped.  You  must  go 
to-night.     To-morrow  will  be  too  late." 

He  drew  off  one  of  her  white  gloves  and  kissed  her  finger-tips. 


278  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  My  dear  one,"  he  said,  "  if  there  were  nothing  else  to  think 
of,  do  you  suppose  I  could  go  away  and  leave  you  behind  me? 
That  is  just  what  somebody  expected  me  to  do  when  he  per- 
mitted you  to  witness  his  preparations.  But  he  was  mistaken. 
It  is  impossible.    I  cannot  and  I  will  not  leave  you." 

Her  pale  face  was  suddenly  overspread  by  a  burning  blush, 
and  she  threw  both  arms  about  his  neck. 

"  Very  well,"  she  said,  "  I  will  go  with  you." 

"  Darling !  "  he  cried,  and  he  clasped  her  to  his  breast  again. 
"  But  no !  That  is  impossible  also.  Our  marriage  cannot  take 
place  for  ten  days." 

"  No  matter !     I'll  go  without  it." 

"  Without  marriage  ?  " 

"Why  not?" 

"  But  think  what  a  name  you  would  leave  behind  you." 

"  I  don't  care.  And  if  somebody  counted  upon  my  being 
afraid  of  what  people  would  say,  he  was  mistaken  in  that, 
too." 

"  My  dear  one,  you  don't  know  what  you  are  saying.  You 
are  too  good,  too  pure  .  .  ." 

"  Hush !  Our  marriage  is  nothing  to  anybody  but  our- 
selves, and  if  we  choose  to  go  without  it  .  .  ." 

"  My  dear,  pure  girl !  " 

"  I  can't  hear  you,"  she  said.  Loosening  her  hands  from  his 
neck,  she  had  covered  her  ears. 

He  held  her  closer  to  him  and  said : 

"  Dearest,  I  know  what  you  are  thinking  of,  but  it  must 
not  be." 

"  I  can't  hear  a  word  you're  saying,"  she  said,  beating  her 
hands  over  her  ears.  "  I  am  a  woman,  and  yet  I'm  ready  to 
go — now,  this  very  minute— and  if  you  don't  take  me  it  is  be- 
cause you  are  a  man,  and  you  love  other  things  better  than 
you  love  me." 

"  My  darling,  don't  tempt  me.  If  you  only  knew  what  it 
costs  me  .  .  .  but  I  would  rather  die  .  .  ." 

"  I  don't  want  you  to  die.  That's  just  it !  I  want  you  to 
live,  and  I  am  willing  to  risk  everything — everything  .  .  ." 

Her  warm  and  lovely  form  was  quivering  in  his  arms,  and 
his  heart  was  labouring  wildly. 

"  iSTo,  no,  no !  "  he  cried.  "  I  love  you  too  much.  Think ! 
Only  think!  Your  father  charged  me  to  rescue  you  from  a 
danger  that  threatened  you,  and  shall  I  .  .  .  Heaven  forbid! 
I  can't,  and  I  won't !  " 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  279 

Then  a  shiver  ran  over  her,  and  she  buried  her  face  in  his 
breast. 

"  Dearest,"  he  whispered  over  her  head.  "  You  are  so  good, 
so  pure,  so  noble  that  you  don't  know  how  evil  tongues  can  wag 
at  a  woman  because  she  is  brave  and  true.  But  I  must  remem- 
ber my  mother — and  if  your  poor  father  is  to  rest  in  his 
grave  .  .  ." 

His  voice  broke  and  he  stopped.  She  was  breathing  heavily, 
and  holding  on  to  him  as  if  in  fear  that  she  would  fall. 

"  See  how  much  I  love  you,"  he  whispered  again,  "  when  I 
would  rather  lose  you  than  see  you  lower  yourself  in  your  own 
esteem.  .  .  .  And  then  think  of  my  people!  My  poor  people 
who  trust  me  and  look  up  to  me  so  much  more  than  I  deserve. 
I  called  them  and  they  have  come.  They  are  here  now,  tens  of 
thousands  of  them.  And  they  will  be  here  to-morrow  wherever 
I  may  be.  Shall  I  desert  them  in  their  hour  of  need  thinking 
of  my  own  safety,  my  own  happiness  ?  No !  You  cannot  wish 
it !  You  do  not  wish  it !  I  know  you  too  well !  Roma  !  My 
Roma ! " 

She  lifted  her  head  from  his  breast.  "  You  are  right,"  she 
said.     "  You  must  stay." 

"  That's  better." 

"  I  am  ashamed.  It  was  only  the  other  day  that  I  talked 
of  a  wife  being  her  husband's  friend  to  all  the  limitless  lengths 
of  friendship,  and  now  ..." 

"  My  sweet  girl !  " 

"  Can  you  ever  forgive  me  for  being  frightened  at  the  first 
sight  of  danger  and  telling  you  to  fly  ?  " 

"  I  will  always  love  you  for  it." 

"  And  you  will  never  think  the  worse  of  me  for  offering  to 
go  with  you  ?  " 

"  I  will  love  you  for  that,  too." 

"  I  must  be  brave,"  she  said,  drawing  herself  up  proudly 
though  her  lips  were  trembling,  her  voice  was  breaking  and  her 
eyes  were  wet.  "  That's  what  a  woman  must  be  if  she  is  the 
wife  of  a  man  who  has  a  man's  work  to  do  in  the  world,  and  a 
high  and  noble  mission." 

"  My  brave  girl !  " 

"  T\Tiether  you  are  right  or  wrong  in  what  you  are  doing  it 
is  not  for  me  to  decide,  but  if  your  heart  tells  you  to  do  it  you 
must  do  it,  and  I  must  be  your  soldier,  ready  and  waiting  for 
my  captain's  call." 

"  My  heroine !  " 


280  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  It  is  not  for  nothing  that  I  am  my  father's  daughter. 
He  risked  everything  and  so  will  I,  and  if  they  come  to  m 
to-morrow   night   and   say   that  .  .  .  that   you  .  .  .  that   you 
are  .  .  ." 

"  Hush,  dearest !  " 

The  proud  face  had  fallen  on  his  breast  again.  But  after 
a  moment  it  was  raised  afresh,  and  then  it  was  shining  all 
over. 

"  That's  right !  How  doubly  beautiful  your  face  is  when  it 
smiles,  Koma  !  Roma,  do  you  know  what  I'm  going  to  do  when 
this  is  all  over?  I'm  going  to  spend  my  life  in  making  you 
smile  all  the  time." 

She  gave  him  a  sudden  kiss,  and  then  broke  out  of  his 
arms. 

"  I  must  be  going.  I've  stayed  too  long.  I  may  not  see 
you  before  the  meeting,  but  I  won't  say  '  good-bye.' " 

"  My  brave,  brave  girl !  " 

"  Oh,  it  isn't  that.  I've  thought  of  something,  and  now 
I  know  what  I'm  going  to  do." 

"What  is  it?" 

"  Don't  ask  me." 

"  What  is  it  ? "  he  demanded,  laying  hold  of  her, 

"  It's  all  right.  Don't  look  so  frightened.  I'm  not  going  to 
kill  myself.    Let  me  go." 

She  opened  the  door. 

"  Come  to  me  to-morrow  night — I  shall  expect  you,"  she 
whispered,  and  waving  her  glove  to  him  over  her  head  she 
disappeared  from  the  room. 

He  stood  a  moment  where  she  had  left  him,  trying  to  think 
what  she  intended  to  do,  and  then  he  returned  to  his  desk  in 
the  outer  office.  His  successor  was  there,  looking  sour  and 
stubborn. 

"  Mr.  Rossi,"  he  said,  "  this  afternoon  I  was  told  at  the 
Press  Club  that  the  authorities  were  watching  for  a  plausible 
excuse  for  suppressing  the  paper.  And  considering  the  rela- 
tions of  this  lady  to  the  Minister  of  the  Interior,  and  the  dan- 
ger of  spies  .  .  ." 

"Listen  to  this  carefully,  sir,"  interrupted  Rossi.  "When 
you  come  into  possession  of  the  chair  I  occupy  you  shall  do 
as  you  think  well,  but  to-night  it  is  mine,  and  I  shall  conduct 
the  paper  as  I  please." 

"  Still,  you  will  allow  me  to  say  .  .  ." 

"Not  one  word." 


THE   PRI3IE   MINISTER  281 

"  Permit  me  to  protest  .  .  ." 
•">'   "  Leave  the  room,  immediately." 

When  the  man  was  gone,  David  Rossi  wrote  a  third  and  last 
version  of  his  manifesto  : 

"Romans — Have  no  fear  !  Do  not  allow  yourselves  to  he  terrified 
hy  the  military  preparations  of  your  Government.  Believe  a  man 
who  has  never  deceived  you — the  soldiers  will  not  fire  ^ipon  the  people  ! 
Violate  no  law.  Assail  no  enemy.  Respect  property.  Above  all, 
respect  life.  Do  not  alloio  yourselves  to  he  pushed  into  the  doctrine  of 
physical  force.  If  any  man  tries  to  provoke  violence,  think  him  an 
agent  of  your  enemies  and  pay  no  heed.  Be  hrave,  he  strong,  he  pa- 
tient, and  to-morrow  night  you  ivill  send  up  such  a  cry  as  vnll  ring 
throughout  the  world.     Romans,  rememher  your  fathers  and  be  great. " 

Rossi  was  handing  his  manuscript  to  the  sub-editor,  that 
it  might  be  sent  upstairs,  when  all  at  once  the  air  seemed  to 
become  empty  and  the  world  to  stand  still.  The  machine  in 
the  basement  had  ceased  to  work.  There  was  a  momentaiy. 
pause,  such  as  comes  on  the  steamship  at  sea  when  the  engines 
are  suddenly  stopped,  and  then  a  sound  of  frightened  voices  and 
the  noise  of  hurrying  feet.  Somebody  ran  along  the  corridor 
outside  and  rapped  sharply  at  the  door. 

At  the  next  moment  the  door  opened  and  four  men  en- 
tered the  room.  One  of  them  was  an  inspector,  another  was 
a  delegate,  and  the  others  were  policemen  in  plain  clothes. 

"  The  journal  is  sequestered,"  said  the  inspector  to  David 
Rossi.  And  turning  to  one  of  his  men,  he  said,  "  Go  up  to  the 
composing-room  and  superintend  the  distribution  of  the  type." 

"  Allow  no  one  to  leave  the  building,"  said  the  delegate  to 
the  other  policemen. 

"  Gentlemen,"  said  the  inspector,  "  we  are  charged  to  make 
a  perquisition,  and  must  ask  you  for  the  keys  of  your  desks." 

"What  is  this?"  said  the  delegate,  taking  the  manifesto 
out  of  Rossi's  fingers  and  proceeding  to  read  it. 

At  that  moment  the  editor-elect  came  rushing  into  the  room 
with  a  face  like  the  rising  sun. 

"  I  demand  to  see  a  list  of  the  things  sequestered,"  he  cried. 

"  You  shall  do  so  at  the  police-office,"  said  the  inspector. 

"  Does  that  mean  that  we  are  all  arrested  ? " 

"  Not  all.  The  Honourable  Rossi,  being  a  Deputy,  is  at 
liberty  to  leaVe." 

"  Thought  as  much,"  said  the  new  editor,  with  a  contemptu- 
^19 


282  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

ous  snort.  And  turning  to  Rossi,  and  showing  his  teeth  in  a 
bitter  smile,  he  said:  "  What  did  I  say  would  happen?  Has  it 
followed  quickly  enough  to  satisfy  you?  " 

The  inspector  and  the  delegate  had  opened  the  editor's  desks 
and  were  i-ummaging  among  their  papers  when  David  Rossi  put 
on  his  hat  and  went  home. 

At  the  door  of  the  lodge  the  old  Garibaldian  was  waiting  in 
obvious  excitement. 

"  Old  John  has  been  here,  sir,"  he  said.  "  Something  to 
tell  you.  Wouldn't  tell  me.  But  Bruno  got  it  out  of  him 
at  last.  Must  be  something  serious,  for  the  big  booby  has  been 
drinking  ever  since.  Hear  him  in  the  cafe,  sir?  I'll  send 
him  up." 

Half  an  hour  afterwards  Bruno  staggered  into  Rossi's  room. 
He  had  a  tearful  look  in  his  drink-deadened  eyes,  and  was 
clearly  struggling  with  a  desire  to  put  his  arms  about  Rossi's 
neck  and  weep  over  him. 

"  D'ye  know  wha'  ?  "  he  mumbled  in  a  maudlin  voice.  "  Ole 
Vampire  is  a  villain  !  Ole  John — 'member  ole  John  ? — well,  ole 
John  heard  his  grandson,  the  'dective,  say  that  if  you  go  to 
the  Coliseum  to-morrow  night  .  .  ." 

"  I  know  all  about  it,  Bruno.    You  may  go  to  bed." 

"  Stop  a  minute,  sir,"  said  Bi'uno,  with  a  melancholy  smile. 
"You  don't  unnerstand.  They're  going  t'  shoot  you.  See? 
Ole  John — 'member  ole  John  ?    Well,  ole  John  .  .  ." 

"  I  know,  Bruno.    But  I'm  going  nevertheless." 

Bruno  fought  with  the  vapour  in  his  brain  and  said :  "  You 
don'  mean  t'  say  you  inten'  t'  let  yourself  be  a  target  .  .  ." 

"  That's  what  I  do  mean,  Bruno." 

Bruno  burst  into  a  loud  laugh.  "  Well,  I'll  be  .  .  .  wha'  the 
devil.  .  .  .  But  you  shan't  go !  I'll  ...  I'll  see  you  damned 
first !  " 

"  You're  drunk,  Bruno.    Go  and  put  yourself  to  bed." 

The  drink-deadened  eyes  flashed,  and  to  grief  succeeded 
rage.  "  Pu'  mysel'  t'  bed !  D'ye  know  wha'  I'd  like  t'  do  t' 
you  for  t'  nex'  twenty-four  hours?  I'd  jus'  like — yes,  by  Bac- 
chus— I'd  jus'  like  to  punch  you  in  t'  belly  and  put  you  to 
bed." 

And  straightening  himself  up  with  drunken  dignity,  Bruno 
stalked  out  of  the  room. 

The  Baron  Bonelli  in  the  Piazza  Leone  was  rising  from 
liis  late  and  solitary  dinner,  when  Felice  entered  the  shaded 
dining-room,  and  handed  him  a  letter  from  Roma.     It  ran : 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  283 

"  This  is  to  let  you  know  that  I  intend  to  be  present  at 
the  meeting  in  the  Coliseum  to-morrow  night.  Therefore,  if 
any  shots  are  to  be  fired  by  the  soldiers  at  the  crowd,  or  their 
leader,  you  will  know  beforehand  that  they  must  also  be  fired 
at  me." 

As  the  Baron  held  the  letter  under  the  red  shade  "of  the 
lamp,  the  usual  immobility  of  his  icy  face  gave  way  to  a  rap- 
turous expression. 

"  She's  magnificent !  The  woman  is  magnificent !  And 
worth  fighting  for  to  the  bitter  end." 

Then,  turning  to  Felice  he  told  the  man  to  ring  up  the 
Commendatore  Angelelli,  and  tell  him  to  send  for  Minghelli 
without  delay. 


Next  day  began  with  heavy  clouds  lying  low  over  the  city, 
a  cold  wind  coming  down  from  the  mountains,  and  the  rum- 
bling of  distant  thunder.  Nevertheless  the  people  who  had 
come  to  Rome  for  the  demonstration  at  the  Coliseum  seemed 
to  be  in  the  streets  the  A\hole  day  long.  From  early  morning 
they  gathered  in  the  Piazza  Xavona,  inquired  for  David  Rossi, 
and  stood  by  the  fountains  and  looked  up  at  his  windows. 

The  old  Garibaldian  had  orders  to  deny  him  to  everybody, 
but  nobody  seemed  to  complain.  Hour  by  hour  the  people  came 
with  news  of  the  city,  sent  up  messages  and  went  away.  Can- 
non was  being  planted  in  the  Piazza  del  Popolo  !  Soldiers  were 
stationed  around  the  Coliseum !  Lines  of  infantry  were  ranged 
in  the  streets !  No  matter !  "  He  knows  his  chickens !  "  the 
people  said,  and  they  were  not  afraid. 

As  the  day  wore  on  the  crowds  increased. 

All  the  public  squares  seemed  to  be  full  of  motley,  ill-clad, 
ill-nourished,  but  formidable  multitudes.  Towards  evening 
the  tradesmen  began  to  shut  up  their  shops,  and  a  regiment 
of  cavalry  paraded  the  principal  streets  with  a  band  that  played 
the  royal  march.  At  that  the  people  in  the  Piazza  Navona, 
shivering  under  the  Tramontana  and  huddling  together  to  keep 
themselves  Avarm,  turned  their  faces  to  David  Rossi's  house 
and  broke  into  a  hungry  cheer. 

Meantime,  the  dictator  to  whom  thousands  were  looking  up, 
was  miserable  and  alone.  He  was  feeling  the  agony  of  having 
seized  on  an  ideal  and  the  danger  of  reducing  it  to  action, 


284  THE   ETERNAL   CITY 

The  ideal  was  to  bring  the  moral  force  of  civilised  man  to  bear 
against  oppression  and  wrong;  the  danger  was  the  danger  of 
riot  and  bloodshed.  He  had  cried  "  Peace,"  but  the  perils  of 
protest  were  so  many,  and  so  near.  A  blow,  a  push,  a  quarrel 
at  a  street  corner,  and  God  knows  what  might  happen !  It  was 
like  the  gigantic  gambling  of  war,  with  the  awful  vicissitudes 
of  triumph  and  defeat,  and  the  haunting  risk  of  accident. 

But  the  frenzy  and  sweat  of  David  Rossi's  body  and  soul 
had  still  another  channel  of  torment.  He  had  slept  badly,  and 
on  awakening  in  the  dim  light  his  first  thought  had  been  of 
Roma.  Over  the  tenderness  and  the  tingling  of  warm  blood 
which  came  with  the  sense  of  her  fresh  and  lovely  figure,  there 
was  the  pang  of  losing  her  if  the  end  of  that  day's  work  was 
tragic,  and  life  which  was  at  length  opening  its  sweetness  to 
him,  was  snatched  away. 

Then  the  story  that  Roma  told  him  the  night  before  of  the 
pressure  put  ufjon  her  by  the  Baron  took  new  and  terrible 
aspects,  and  he  was  tortured  by  a  secret  pain  which  he  had 
never  felt  before.  He  saw  her  in  the  power  of  the  Minister 
after  he  had  gone — tormented,  tempted,  tried  until  her  will 
was  broken  and  she  gave  herself  up  to  the  man  at  last. 

An  oath  burst  from  his  lips  and  a  red  flame  passed  before 
his  eyes  when  he  thought  of  this,  and  he  leapt  out  of  bed  as 
if  something  in  his  brain  had  suddenly  snapped.  He  had  not 
a  doubt  about  what  he  had  been  doing,  and  he  would  go  on 
with  it  whatever  happened.  But  he  miast  think  of  the  con- 
sequences no  more.  It  was  a  strain  that  human  nerves  could 
not  endure. 

Elena  came  with  his  coffee.  The  timid  creature  kept  look- 
ing at  him  out  of  her  liquid  eyes  as  if  struggling  with  a  desire 
to  speak,  but  when  she  did  so  it  was  only  on  indifferent  subjects. 

Bruno  had  got  up  with  a  headache  and  gone  off  to  work. 
Little  Joseph  was  very  trying  this  morning,  and  she  had 
threatened  to  whip  him. 

Her  father  had  been  upstairs  to  say  that  countless  people 
were  asking  for  the  Deputy,  and  he  wished  to  know  if  any- 
body was  to  come  up. 

"  Tell  him  I  Avant  to  be  quite  alone  to-day,"  said  Rossi,  and 
then  the  soft  voice  ceased,  and  the  timid  creature  went  out  with 
a  guilty  look. 

Like  a  man  who  is  going  on  a  long  and  periloiis  .iourney, 
David  Rossi  spent  the  morning  in  arranging  his  affairs.  He 
looked  over  his  letters  and  destroyed  most  of  them.     The  let- 


THE   PRIME  MINISTER  285 

ters  from  Roma  were  hard  to  burn,  but  he  read  each  of  them 
again,  as  if  trying  to  stamp  their  words  and  characters  on  his 
brain,  and  with  a  deep  sigh  he  committed  them  to  the  flames. 

He  took  from  its  frame  the  covenant  which  hung  by  his  bed 
and  burnt  it  with  other  private  and  political  papers.  Then  he 
wrote  a  short  letter  to  Roma,  and  put  it  in  his  pocket  to  post 
on  his  way  to  the  Piazza.  Finally  he  made  his  will,  and  called 
Elena  and  her  father  to  witness  it. 

It  was  twelve  o'clock  by  this  time  and  Francesca,  in  her 
red  cotton  handkerchief,  brought  up  his  lunch.  The  good  old 
thing  looked  at  him  with  a  comical  expression  of  pity  on  her 
wrinkled  face,  and  he  knew  that  Bruno  had  told  his  story. 

"  Come  now,  my  son !  Put  away  your  papers  and  get  some- 
thing on  your  stomach.  People  eat  even  if  they're  going  to  the 
gallows,  you  know." 

After  lunch  Rossi  called  upstairs  for  Joseph,  and  the  shock- 
headed  little  cub  was  brought  down,  with  his  wet  eyes  twink- 
ling and  his  petted  lip  beginning  to  smile. 

"  Joseph  has  been  naughty,  Uncle  David,"  said  Elena.  "  He 
is  crying  for  the  clothes  Donna  Roma  gave  him,  and  he  says 
he  must  go  out  because  it  is  his  birthday." 

"  Does  a  man  cry  when  he  is  seven  ?  "  said  Uncle  David. 

Thereupon  Joseph,  keeping  his  eyes  upon  his  mother,  whis- 
pered something  in  Uncle  David's  ear,  and  straightway  the 
gorgeous  garments  were  produced. 

"  Joseph  will  promise  not  to  go  out  to-day,  won't  you, 
Joseph?" 

And  Joseph  rubbed  his  fists  into  his  eyes  and  was  under- 
stood to  say  "  Yes." 

But  it  was  in  vain  that  Rossi  tried  to  break  the  strain  of 
painful  thoughts. 

"  You're  not  looking  at  me,  Uncle  David.  Why  don't  you 
look?  "  cried  Joseph,  but  still  Uncle  David's  eyes  kept  wander- 
ing from  their  play. 

At  four  o'clock  Bruno  came  home,  looking  grim  and  reso- 
lute. 

"  I  was  pretty  drunk  last  night,  sir,"  he  said,  "  but  if  there's 
shooting  to  be  done  this  evening  I'm  going  to  be  there." 

The  time  came  for  the  two  men  to  go,  and  everybody  saw 
them  to  the  door. 

"  Adieu,"  said  Rossi.  "  Thfink  you  for  all  you've  done  for 
me,  and  may  God  bless  you!  Take  care  of  my  little  Roman 
boy.    Kiss  me,  Joseph !    Again !    For  the  last  time !    Adieu !  " 


286  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Ah,  God  is  a  good  old  saint.  He'll  take  care  of  you,  my 
son,"  said  the  old  woman. 

"  Adieu,  Uncle  David !  Adieu,  papa !  "  cried  Joseph  over 
the  banisters,  and  the  brave  little  voice,  with  its  manly  fal- 
setto, was  the  last  the  men  heard  as  they  descended  the  stairs. 

The  Piazza  del  Popolo  was  densely  crowded  and  seemed  to 
be  twice  as  large  as  usual.  Bruno  elbowed  a  way  through  for 
himself  and  Rossi  until  they  came  to  the  obelisk  in  the  centre 
of  the  great  circle.  On  the  steps  of  the  obelisk  a  com- 
pany of  artillery  was  stationed  with  a  piece  of  cannon  which 
commanded  the  three  principal  thoroughfares  of  the  city,  the 
Corso,  the  Ripctta  and  the  Babuino,  which  branch  off  from 
that  centre  like  the  ribs  from  the  handle  of  a  fan.  Without 
taking  notice  of  the  soldiers  the  people  ranged  themselves  in 
order  and  prepared  for  their  procession.  At  the  ringing  of 
Ave  Maria  the  great  crowd  linked  in  files  and  turned  their 
faces  toward  the  Corso. 

Bruno  walked  first,  carrying  from  his  stalwart  breast  a 
standard,  on  which  was  inscribed,  under  the  title  of  the  "  Re- 
public of  Man,"  the  words :  "  Give  us  this  day  our  daily  bread." 
At  intervals  of  a  dozen  yards  came  other  standards,  inscribed : 
"  Resist  not  evil,"  "  Thy  kingdom  come,"  under  the  names  of 
the  clubs,  guilds,  and  associations  to  which  they  belonged. 
Rossi  had  meant  to  walk  immediately  behind  Bruno,  but  he 
found  himself  encircled  by  a  group  of  his  follovv'ers.  One  of 
them  was  Luigi  Conti,  another  was  Malatesta,  a  third  was  the 
Doctor  Deputy.  I^o  sovereign  was  ever  surrounded  by  more 
watchful  guards. 

By  the  spontaneous  consent  of  the  public,  the  traffic  in  the 
street  was  suspended,  and  crowds  of  the  peoi:ilc  of  the  city  had 
turned  out  to  look  on.  The  four  tiers  of  the  Pincian  hill  were 
lacked  with  spectators,  and  every  window  and  balcony  in  the 
Corso  was  filled  with  faces.  All  the  shops  were  shut  up,  and 
many  of  theni  were  barricaded  -tpithin  and  without.  A  regi- 
ment of  infantry  was  ranged  along  the  edge  of  the  pavement, 
and  the  people  passed  between  two  lines  of  rifles. 

As  the  procession  went  on,  it  was  constantly  augmented.  At 
the  Piazza  Colonna,  a  group  of  deputies  who  had  come  out 
to  look,  caught  the  contagion  of  the  moment,  and  stepped 
into  the  procession.  At  the  Piazza  Venezia,  a  crowd  of  young 
students  from  the  Royal  University  took  their  places  and 
marched  on. 

The  column  which  had  been  four  abreast  when  it  started 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  287 

from  the  Popolo,  was  eight  abreast  before  it  reached  the  end 
of  the  Corso,  and  the  last  of  the  line  had  not  yet  left  the  Piazza. 
There  were  no  bands  of  music  and  there  was  no  singing,  but  at 
intervals  some  one  at  the  head  of  the  procession  would  begin 
to  clap,  and  then  the  clapping  of  hands  would  run  down  the 
street  like  the  rattle  of  musketry. 

Such  a  procession  had  never  been  known  even  in  Kome,  the 
city  of  spectacles;  and  the  Corso,  which  had  witnessed  the  pro- 
cessions of  Popes,  with  their  red  glow  of  cardinals  and  bishops, 
as  well  as  the  processions  of  kings,  with  their  glitter  of  armed 
men,  had  never  yet  looked  on  a  scene  like  this.  Men  in  sheep- 
skins and  men  in  broadcloth,  men  whose  cheeks  were  pinched  by 
pellagra,  or  yellow  with  malaria,  and  men  with  full  and  florid 
faces. 

Going  up  the  narrow  streets  beyond  the  Venezia,  the  people 
passed  into  the  Porum — out  of  the  living  city  of  the  present 
into  the  dead  city  of  the  past,  with  its  desolation  and  its 
silence,  its  chaos  of  broken  columns  and  cornices,  of  corbels 
and  capitals,  of  wells  and  water-courses,  lying  in  the  waste  in 
which  they  had  been  left  by  the  earthquake  which  had  passed 
over  them,  the  earthquake  of  the  ages — and  so  on  through  the 
arch  of  Titus  to  their  meeting-place  in  the  Coliseum. 

All  this  time,  David  Rossi's  restless  eyes  had  passed  ner- 
vously from  side  to  side.  Going  down  the  Corso  he  had  been 
dimly  conscious  of  eyes  looking  at  him  from  windows  and  bal- 
conies. He  was  struggling  to  be  calm  and  firm,  but  he  was  in  a 
furnace  of  dread,  and  beneath  his  breath  he  was  praying  from 
time  to  time  that  God  would  prevent  accident  and  avert  blood- 
shed, lie  was  also  praying  for  strength  of  spirit,  and  feeling 
like  a  guilty  coward.  His  face  was  deadly  pale,  the  fire  within 
seemed  to  consume  the  grosser  senses,  and  he  walked  along  like 
a  "man  in  a  dream. 

At  intervals  people  spoke  to  him.  "  This  is  wonderful,"  said 
one,  and  another  said  it  would  be  "  written  in  history."  He 
hardly  heard  them.  The  one  man  who  was  not  uplifted  by  that 
thrilling  demonstration  was  the  man  who  had  made  it.  But 
though  he  was  tormented  by  fears,  he  was  exalted  by  the  fever 
that  burnt  in  him. 

"  If  Rossi  speaks  to-day,"  said  somebody,  "  it  is  not  Rome 
alone  that  will  hear." 


^88  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 


VI 


Half  an  hour  before  Ave  Maria  Roma  had  put  on  an  incon- 
spicuous cloak,  a  plain  hat  and  a  dark  veil,  and  walked  down  to 
the  Coliseum.  Soldiers  were  stationed  on  all  the  high  ground 
about  the  circus,  and  large  numbers  of  persons  were  already- 
assembled  inside.  The  people  were  poor  and  ill-clad,  and  they 
smelt  of  garlic  and  uncleanness.  "  His  people,  though," 
thought  Roma,  and  so  she  conquered  her  repulsion. 

Three  tiers  encircle  the  walls  of  the  Coliseum,  like  the  gal- 
leries of  a  great  theatre,  and  the  first  of  these  was  occupied  by 
a  regiment  of  Carabineers.  There  was  some  banter  and  chaff 
at  the  expense  of  the  soldiers,  but  the  people  Avere  serious  for  all 
that,  and  the  excitement  beneath  their  jesting  was  deep  and 
strong. 

The  low  cloud  which  had  hung  over  the  city  from  early 
morning  seemed  to  lie  like  a  roof  over  the  topmost  circle  of 
the  amphitheatre,  and  as  night  came  on  the  pit  below  grew  dark 
and  chill.  Then  torches  were  lit  and  put  in  prominent  places — 
long  pitch  sticks  covered  with  rags  or  brown  paper.  The 
people  were  patient  and  good-humoured,  but  to  beguile  the 
tedium  of  waiting  they  sang  songs.  They  were  songs  of  labour 
chiefly,  but  one  man  started  the  Te  Deum,  and  the  rest  joined 
in  with  one  voice.  It  was  like  the  noise  the  sea  makes  on  a 
heavy  day  when  it  breaks  on  a  bank  of  sand. 

After  a  while  there  was  a  deep  sound  from  outside.  The  pro- 
cession was  approaching.  It  came  on  like  a  great  tidal  wave 
and  flowed  into  the  vast  place  in  the  gathering  darkness  with 
the  light  of  a  hundred  fresh  torches. 

In  less  than  half  an  hour  the  ruined  amphitheatre  was  a 
moving  mass  of  heads  from  the  ground  to  its  topmost  storey. 
Long  sinuous  trails  of  blue  smoke  swept  across  the  people's 
faces,  and  the  great  brown  mass  of  circular  stones  was  lit  up  in 
fitful  gleams. 

Roma  was  lifted  off  her  feet  by  the  breaker  of  human  beings 
that  surged  around.  At  one  moment  she  was  conscious  of 
some  one  behind  who  was  pressing  the  people  back  and  making 
room  for  her.  At  the  next  moment  she  was  aware  that  through 
the  deep  multitudinous  murmur  of  voices  that  rumbled  as  in  a 
vault  somebody  near  her  was  trying  to  speak. 

The  speaking  ceased  and  there  was  a  sharp  crackle  of  ap- 
plause which  had  the  effect  of  producing  silence.  In  this  si- 
lence another  voice,  a  clear,  loud,  vibrating  voice,  said  "  Ro- 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  289 

mans  and  Brothers,"  and  then  there  was  a  prolonged  shout  of 
recognition  from  ten  thousand  throats. 

In  a  moment  a  dozen  torches  were  handed  up,  and  the 
speaker  was  in  a  circle  of  light  and  could  be  seen  by  all.  It 
was  Rossi.  He  was  standing  bareheaded  on  a  stone,  with  a 
face  of  unusual  paleness.  He  was  wearing  the  loose  cloak  of  the 
common  people  of  Rome,  thrown  across  his  breast  and  shoulder. 
Bruno  stood  by  his  left  side  holding  a  standard  above  their 
heads.  At  his  right  hand  were  two  other  men  who  partly  con- 
cealed him  from  the  crowd.  Roma  found  herself  immediately 
below  them,  and  within  two  or  three  paces. 

After  a  moment  the  shouting  died  down,  and  there  was  no 
sound  in  the  vast  place,  but  a  soft,  quick,  indrawn  hiss  that 
was  like  the  palpitating  breathing  of  an  immense  flock  of  sheep. 
Then  Rossi  began  again. 

"  First  and  foremost,"  he  said,  "  let  me  call  on  you  to  pre- 
serve the  peace.  One  false  step  to-night  and  all  is  lost.  Our 
enemies  would  like  to  fix  on  us  the  name  of  rebels.  Rebels 
against  whom?  There  is  no  rebellion  except  rebellion 
against  the  people.  The  people  are  the  true  sovereign,  and  the 
only  rebels  are  the  classes  who  oppress  them.  They  may  wear 
the  uniform  of  soldiers,  or  the  court  dress  of  ministers,  but  if 
they  are  not  the  subjects  and  servants  of  the  people  they  are  the 
real  rebels  after  all.    This  is  a  deep  truth,  let  who  will  deny  it." 

A  murmur  of  assent  broke  from  the  crowd.  Rossi  paused, 
and  looked  around  at  the  soldiers. 

"  Romans,"  he  said,  "  do  not  let  the  armed  rebels  of  the 
State  provoke  you  to  violence.  It  is  to  their  interest  to  do 
so.  Defeat  them.  You  have  come  here  in  the  face  of  their 
rifles  and  bayonets  to  show  that  you  are  not  afraid  of  death. 
But  I  ask  you  to  be  afraid  of  doing  an  unrighteous  thing.  It 
is  on  my  responsibility  that  you  are  here,  and  it  would  be  an 
undying  remorse  to  me  if  through  any  fault  of  yours  one  drop 
of  blood  were  shed. 

"  I  call  on  you  as  earnestly  as  if  my  nearest  and  dearest  were 
among  you,  liable  to  be  shot  down  by  the  rifles  of  the  mili- 
tary, not  to  give  them  any  excuse  for  violence.  I  call  on  you 
to  swear  with  me  that  you  will  not  resist  evil.     Swear !  " 

The  people  answered  instantly,  and  the  oath  was  taken  with 
a  universal  shout.  Roma  turned  to  look  at  the  soldiers.  As  far 
as  she  could  see  in  the  uncertain  light  they  were  standing 
passively  in  their  circle,  with  their  rifles  by  their  sides. 

"  Romans,"  said  Rossi  again,  "  a  month  ago  we  protested 


290  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

against  an  iniquitous  tax  on  the  first  necessary  of  li^e.  The  an- 
swer is  sixty  thousand  men  in  arms  around  us.  Therefore  we 
are  here  to-night  to  appeal  to  the  mightiest  force  on  earth, 
mightier  than  any  army,  more  powerful  than  any  parliament, 
more  absolute  than  any  king — the  force  of  moral  sympathy 
and  public  opinion  throughout  the  world." 

At  this  there  were  shouts  of  "  Bravo  "  and  some  clapping 
of  hands. 

"  The  upholders  of  oppression  will  ask  you  what  need  you 
liave  of  moral  sympathy  if  you  have  your  representative  gov- 
ernment, your  ballot-boxes  and  votes.  Tell  them  that  repre- 
sentative government  may  be  made  the  instrument  of  the  privi- 
leged classes,  and  votes  may  be  of  no  avail.  If  the  votes  of 
men  were  rightly  apportioned,  the  people  would  be  the  sov- 
ereigns in  every  country  on  the  globe. 

"  It  is  because  they  are  not  rightly  apportioned  that  reac- 
tionary governments  exist  nearly  everywhere,  that  the  poor  are 
taxed  out  of  all  proportion  to  the  rich,  that  the  soil,  which  is 
the  patrimony  of  the  human  race,  is  in  the  hands  of  the  few 
to  the  disadvantage  of  the  many,  and  that  capital,  which  is  the 
wages  of  all,  is  the  monopoly  of  banks  and  trusts." 

"  Bravo  !  Bravo  !  Bravo  !  "  came  from  every  side  in  ex- 
cited cries. 

"  It  is  because  the  votes  of  the  people  are  not  rightly  appor- 
tioned that  reactionary  governments  in  Italy  have  been  able  to 
keep  us  out  of  the  divinest  part  of  our  human  patrimony — the 
patrimony  of  our  intelligence.  Generation  after  generation  we 
have  lived  in  the  darkness  of  ignorance,  that  the  rebels  of  the 
ruling  classes  might  do  their  best  to  reduce  us  to  the  condition 
of  beasts  of  burden,  I  thank  my  good,  kind,  merciful  God  that 
they  have  not  been  able  to  do  so  altogether.  Man  is  divine, 
man  is  God-like,  and  the  Almighty  has  not  allowed  that  even 
his  worst  oppressors  should  bring  him  down  to  the  level  of 
the  brutes." 

Itossi's  vibrating  voice  had  risen  almost  to  the  shrillness  of 
a  cry,  and  he  was  answered  by  a  deep  "  Ah  "  that  was  like  the 
sough  of  an  ebbing  sea, 

"  And  during  this  age-long  rebellion  against  the  true  sov- 
ereignty of  the  world,  what  has  the  Church  been  doing?  The 
Church  belongs  to  the  people.  Its  Founder  was  a  man  of  the 
people.  He  was  called  the  Son  of  Man.  He  was  born  poor, 
lived  poor,  and  had  compassion  upon  the  multitude.  Has  the 
Church  declared  itself  on  the  side  of  the  people  ?    What  is  the 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  291 

■word  of  life  which  the  Church  speaks  to  a  sick  and  suffering 
world?  The  Church  tells  you  to  be  content  with  your  lot,  to 
be  patient  and  resigned,  to  respect  the  laws  of  civil  authority, 
to  believe  that  human  society  is  impressed  with  the  stamp  and 
character  which  God  meant  to  give  it. 

"  The  Church  tells  you  that  you  must  never  be  seditious, 
that  you  must  cultivate  religion,  that  you  must  find  in  the 
prospect  of  another  world  consolation  for  the  trials  of  this  one. 
If  you  are  rich,  you  must  give  alms  to  the  poor.  If  you  are 
poor,  you  must  submit  to  the  rich.  Whether  yovi  are  rich  or 
poor  you  must  be  obedient  to  the  bishops,  and  bow  your  knee 
to  the  authority  of  the  Pope.  Such  is  the  word  of  life  which 
the  Church  gives  to  a  sick  world  through  the  mouth  of  its 
sovereign  pontiff.  Are  you  content  with  these  admonitions? 
When  you  asked  for  bread  have  they  given  you  a  stone  ? " 

A  cry  as  of  pain  burst  from  the  people,  but  the  speaker  did 
not  pause. 

"  Is  it  true  that  the  Popes  always  are,  and  always  have  been 
since  early  centuries,  and  always  must  be  on  the  side  of  the 
thrones  and  princes?  Is  it  true  that  the  thrones  and  princes 
pass  away  while  the  people  last  for  ever?  Is  it  true,  as  your 
bishops  say,  that  social  democracy  is  a  social  evil,  and  political 
democracy  a  religious  crime  ?  " 

A  strange  light  came  into  Rossi's  eyes,  and  he  raised  his 
voice  to  something  like  a  shout. 

"  What  is  democracy  ?  "  he  cried.  "  Democracy  is  the  break- 
ing down  of  the  barriers  that  divide  man  from  man.  It  is 
the  fulfilment  of  the  law  of  equality,  not  merely  between  body 
and  body,  but  between  soul  and  soul.  '  Thy  kingdom  come 
on  earth  as  it  is  in  heaven.'  Democracy  is  an  attempt  at  the 
practical  realisation  of  that  prayer.  Democracy  believes  that 
the  grand  voice  of  God  speaks  through  the  people.  Democracy 
recognises  the  brotherhood  of  man.  Democracy  sees  only  one 
division  among  men — good  men  and  bad  men,  just  men  and  un- 
just men,  followers  of  God's  law  and  rebels  against  it.  This 
is  democracy,  and  all  the  rest  is  a  superstition  and  a  lie." 

The  people  broke  into  loud  cries  of  assent,  but  again  the 
speaker  did  not  stop. 

'•  Why  does  not  the  Church  recognise  the  truly  religious 
character  of  democracy?  Why  does  it  not  see  that  democracy 
is  Christianity,  that  Christianity  is  democracy,  and  that  there 
is  no  true  definition  of  the  one  that  is  not  a  description  of 
the  other? 


292  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Remember  the  words  of  one  of  the  great  men  of  our 
country :  '  When  the  arms  of  Christ  even  yet  stretched  out  on 
the  cross  shall  be  loosened  to  clasp  the  whole  human  family  in 
one  embrace,  there  will  be  no  more  Italians,  or  Englishmen, 
or  Frenchmen,  or  Americans,  or  rich,  or  poor,  or  kings,  or 
beggars,  but  only  men.' " 

The  deep  "  Ah  "  came  again  from  every  side.  It  was  like 
the  heaving  np  of  the  hearts  of  the  people,  and  Rossi  was  com- 
pelled to  pause  for  a  while. 

"  Romans  and  brothers,"  he  continued,  "  by  the  decree  of 
God,  revealed  in  the  history  of  humanity,  the  world  is  march- 
ing towards  democracy.  Democracy  is  the  true  evolution  of 
God's  will  in  natural  law.  It  is,  therefore,  irresistible.  It  is 
moving  the  world  onward  to  new  destinies  as  surely  as  the 
earth  is  moving  in  the  spheres.  It  is  the  law  of  life,  let  who 
will  close  his  eyes  to  it  or  bury  his  head  in  the  sand." 

There  was  some  cheering,  but  Rossi  raised  his  head  and  it 
died  away. 

"  And  what  is  our  duty  ?  "  he  said.  "  Our  duty  as  men,  in 
the  face  of  injustice  and  oppression,  is  to  assert  the  sovereignty 
of  the  people.  Our  duty  as  men  is  to  overthrow — by  moral 
force,  not  by  violence — all  governments  that  are  not  of  the 
people,  all  parliaments  that  are  hostile  and  corrupt,  all  kings 
and  thrones,  and  self-constituted  authorities.  Our  duty  as 
men  is  to  remove  every  obstacle  in  the  path  of  the  people,  and 
if  among  these  obstacles  the  Papacy  proves  to  be  one,  then,  in 
God's  name,  let  us  not  draw  back  before  a  phantom.  The  soul 
of  the  Church  is  one  thing,  and  the  body  of  the  Church  is  an- 
other. The  soul  of  the  Church  is  with  the  people.  It  is 
divine,  and  it  will  live  for  ever.  If  the  body  of  the  Church 
is  against  the  people,  it  will  encounter  the  whirlwind  and  be 
swept  away." 

The  cloak  had  fallen  from  Rossi's  breast,  and  his  arms  were 
swinging  in  wild  gestures  to  right  and  left.  There  was  si- 
lence for  a  moment,  and  then  a  tremendous  cry.  It  was  diffi- 
cult to  realise  at  first  whether  it  was  a  shout  of  approval 
or  disapproval.  The  speaker  had  hit  deep  down  at  the 
idol  of  ages,  and  the  voice  that  went  up  from  the  people 
was  like  the  fierce  groan  that  comes  from  the  bosom  of  a  sul- 
len sea. 

In  the  commotion  of  the  moment,  Bruno  stepped  in  front 
of  Rossi,  and  covered  him.  Roma  felt  as  if  she  Avere  losing 
consciousness,  but  the  confused  cries  died  away,  and,  before  she 


THE  PRIME   MINISTER  293 

recovered  herself,  Rossi  had  put  Bruno  aside  and  was  speaking 
again. 

"  What  is  our  duty  as  Romans  ? "  he  said.  "  Our  duty  as 
Romans  is  to  bring  the  prestige  of  a  great  name,  sacred  among 
the  nations  and  a  pledge  of  the  world's  respect  and  love,  to  the 
service  of  God  and  man.  There  is  something  more  in  this  place 
to-night  than  a  perishing  people  crying  for  bread.  There  is 
the  human  race  calling  for  justice.  Ours  is  a  solemn  mission, 
the  mission  of  proving  to  the  world  that  humanity  is  one,  that 
all  men  are  sons  of  God  and  brothers  in  Him.  On  the  edge  of 
this  silent  Campagna,  with  the  dust  of  nations  beneath  our 
feet,  we  are  assisting  at  the  dawn  of  a  new  era.  We  are  re-cre- 
ating an  Eternal  City  which  should  be  the  Pantheon  of  Hu- 
manity, the  Angel  of  Light  among  the  peoples,  the  court  and 
congress  of  the  world." 

There  was  no  question  of  division  now — there  was  only  a 
deep  murmur  of  assent. 

"  Romans,  if  your  bread  is  moistened  by  tears  to-day,  think 
of  the  power  of  suffering  and  be  strong.  Think  of  the  history 
of  these  old  walls.  Think  of  the  words  of  Christ :  '  Which  of 
the  prophets  have  not  your  fathers  stoned?'  The  prophets  of 
humanity  have  all  been  martyrs,  and  God  has  marked  you  out 
to  be  the  martyr  nation  of  the  world.  Suffering  is  the  sacred 
flame  that  sanctifies  the  human  soul.  Pray  to  God  for  strength 
to  suffer,  and  He  will  bless  you  from  the  heights  of  heaven." 

The  people  were  weeping  audibly  on  every  hand. 

"  Brothers,  you  are  hungry,  and  I  say  these  things  to  you 
with  a  beating  heart.  Your  children  are  starving,  and  I  swear 
before  God  that  from  this  day  forward  I  will  starve  with  them. 
If  I  have  eaten  two  meals  a  day  hitherto,  for  the  future  I  will 
eat  but  one.  But  let  the  powers  that  are  held  over  you  do 
their  worst.  If  they  imprison  you  for  resisting  their  tyrannies, 
others  will  take  your  place.  If  they  kill  your  leader,  God  wiU 
raise  up  another  who  will  be  stronger  than  he.  Swear  to  me 
in  this  old  Coliseum,  sacred  to  the  martyrs,  that  come  what 
iiifiy>  you  will  not  yield  to  injustice  and  wrong." 

There  was  something  in  Rossi's  face  at  that  last  moment 
that  seemed  to  transcend  the  natural  man.  lie  raised  his  right 
arm  over  his  head  and  in  a  loud  voice  cried,  "  Swear !  " 

The  people  took  the  oath  with  uplifted  hands  and  a  great 
shout.     It  was  terrific. 

Rossi  stepped  down,  and  the  excitement  was  ovei'whelming. 
The  vast  crowd  seemed  to  toss  to  and  fro  under  the  smoking 


294  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

lights  like  a  tumultuous  sea.  The  simple-hearted  Roman 
populace  could  not  contain  themselves. 

Something  they  did  not  understand  carried  them  away,  but 
the  word  of  hope  had  been  spoken  to  them,  and  they  cheered 
and  wept  like  children.  Men  clasped  each  other's  hands,  and  a 
poor  woman,  a  contadina,  with  stays  outside  her  bodice,  put  her 
arms  about  Roma's  neck  and  kissed  her. 

The  crowd  began  to  break  up,  and  the  people  went  ofi  sing- 
ing. Rossi  and  his  group  of  friends  had  disappeared  when 
Roma  turned  to  go.  She  found  herself  weeping  and  singing, 
too,  but  for  another  reason.  The  danger  was  passed,  and  all 
was  over! 

Going  out  by  one  of  the  arches,  she  was  conscious  of  some- 
body walking  beside  her.     Presently  a  voice  said: 

"You  don't  recognise  me  in  the  darkness,  Donna  Roma?" 

It  was  Charles  Minghelli.  He  had  been  told  to  take  care 
of  her.    Could  he  offer  her  his  escort  home  ? 

"  No,  thank  you,"  she  replied,  and  she  was  surprised  at  her- 
self that  she  experienced  no  repulsion. 

Her  heart  was  light,  a  great  weight  had  been  lifted  away, 
and  she  felt  a  large  and  generous  charity.  At  the  top  of  the 
hill  she  found  a  cab,  and  as  it  dipped  down  the  broad  avenue 
that  leads  out  of  the  circle  of  the  dead  centuries  into  the  world 
of  living  men,  she  turned  and  looked  back  at  the  Coliseum.  It 
was  like  a  dream.  The  moving  lights — the  shadows  of  great 
heads  on  the  grim  old  walls — the  surging  crowds — the  cheers 
from  hoarse  throats.  But  the  tinkle  of  the  electric  tram 
brought  her  back  to  reality,  and  then  she  noticed  that  it  had 
begun  to  snow. 

Bruno  ijloughed  a  way  for  David  Rossi,  and  they  reached 
home  at  last. 

"  Ah,  here  you  are,  thank  God !  "  said  the  old  Garibaldian, 
flourishing  his  pork-pie  hat. 

"  You  thought  there  would  be  shooting,  didn't  you? "  cried 
Bruno.     "  But  we've  brought  him  home  as  safe  as  a  sardine." 

"  Praise  the  Virgin  and  all  the  saints!  "  said  the  old  woman, 
and  then  Rossi  tried  to  answer,  but  his  voice  was  gone,  and  he 
made  only  a  husky  croak. 

Elena  was  standing  at  the  door  of  David  Rossi's  rooms,  with 
an  agitated  face. 

"  All  right,  Elena !  "  Bruno  bawled  up  the  stairs. 

"  Have  you  seen  anything  of  Joseph  ? "  she  asked. 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  295 

"Joseph?" 

"  I  opened  the  window  to  look  if  you  were  coming,  and  in 
a  moment  he  was  gone.  On  a  night  like  this,  too,  when  it  isn't 
too  safe  for  anybody  to  be  in  the  streets." 

"  Has  he  still  got  the  clothes  on  ? "  said  Bruno. 

"Yes,  and  the  naughty  boy  has  broken  his  promise  and  must 
be  whipped." 

The  men  looked  into  each  other's  faces. 

"  Donna  Roma  ?  "  said  Eossi. 

"  I'll  go  and  see,"  said  Bruno. 

"  I  must  have  a  rod,  whatever  you  say.  I  really  must !  " 
said  Elena. 

VII 

Roma  reached  home  in  a  glow  of  joy.  She  told  herself  that 
Rossi  would  come  to  her  in  obedience  to  her  command.  He 
must  dine  with  her  to-night.  Seven  was  now  striking  on  all 
the  clocks  outside,  and  to  give  him  time  to  arrive  she  put 
back  the  dinner  until  eight.  Her  aunt  would  dine  in  her 
own  room,  so  they  would  be  quite  alone.  The  conventions 
of  life  had  fallen  absolutely  away,  and  she  considered  them 
no  more. 

Meantime  she  must  dress  and  perhaps  take  a  bath.  A  cer- 
tain sense  of  soiling  which  she  could  not  conquer  had  followed 
her  up  from  that  glorious  meeting.  She  felt  a  little  ashamed 
of  it,  but  it  was  there,  and  though  she  told  herself  "  They  were 
his  people,  poor  things,"  she  was  glad  to  take  oif  the  clothes 
she  had  worn  at  the  Coliseum. 

There  was  an  almost  voluptuous  delight  in  dressing  afresh 
that  night.  The  strain  of  past  days  was  gone,  and  she  foresaw 
no  danger  in  the  near  future. 

Before  Parliament  could  finish  its  sitting  she  would  be  mar- 
ried to  David  Rossi  and  beyond  all  risk  of  injuring  him.  She 
lived  in  the  joy  of  her  future  happiness,  and  threw  her  whole 
soul  into  it. 

With  colour  heightened  by  emotion  and  the  bath,  she  was 
more  lovely  that  night  than  she  had  ever  been  before.  En- 
thusiasm and  success  increased  her  beauty,  and  the  sense  of 
having  gone  triumphantly  through  another  chapter  of  her 
soul's  life  had  its  effect  on  her  body  also.  The  blood  pulsed 
visibly  under  her  skin,  her  bosom  rose  and  fell  and  her  eyes 
gleamed  with  looks  of  love  under  the  upward  curve  of  their 


296  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

long  black  lashes.  She  could  not  help  knowing  that  she  was 
beautiful,  and  it  made  her  proud  and  happy. 

She  combed  out  the  curls  of  her  glossy  black  hair,  put  her- 
self into  a  loose  tea-gown  and  red  slippers,  took  one  backward 
glance  at  herself  in  the  glass,  and  then  going  into  the  drawing- 
room,  she  stood  by  the  window  to  dream  and  wait.  The  snow 
was  still  falling  in  thin  flakes,  but  the  city  was  humming  on, 
and  the  piazza  down  below  was  full  of  people. 

After  a  while  the  electric  bell  of  the  outer  door  was  rung, 
and  her  heart  beat  against  her  breast.  "  It's  he,"  she  thought, 
and  in  the  exquisite  tumult  of  the  moment  she  lifted  her  arms 
and  turned  to  meet  him. 

But  when  the  door  was  opened  it  was  the  Baron  Bonelli  who 
was  shown  into  the  room.  lie  was  in  evening  dress,  with  black 
tie  and  studs,  which  had  a  chilling  effect,  and  his  manner  was 
cold  and  as  calm  as  usual. 

"  Well,"  he  said,  sitting  down  after  his  first  salutations. 

"  Well !  "  she  answered,  hardly  trying  to  disguise  her  dis- 
appointment. 

The  poodle,  which  had  been  sleeping  before  the  fire,  awoke, 
yawned,  stretched  itself,  and  recognising  the  Baron,  came  up 
to  him  to  be  caressed,  but  he  pushed  the  dog  away. 

"  I  regret,"  he  said,  "  that  we  must  enter  on  a  painful  in- 
terview." 

"  As  you  please,"  she  answered,  and  sitting  on  a  stool  by  the 
fire  she  rested  her  elbows  on  her  knees,  and  looked  straight  be- 
fore her. 

"  Your  letter  of  last  night,  my  dear,  produced  the  result 
you  desired.  I  sent  for  Commendatore  Angelelli,  invented 
some  plausible  excuses,  and  reversed  my  orders.  I  also  sent 
for  Minghelli  and  told  him  to  take  care  of  you  on  your  reckless 
errand.  The  matter  has  thus  far  ended  as  you  wished  and  I 
trust  you  are  satisfied." 

She  nodded  her  head  without  turning  round,  and  bore  her- 
self with  a  certain  air  of  defiance. 

"  But  it  is  necessary  that  we  should  come  to  an  understand- 
ing," he  continued.  "  You  have  driven  hard,  my  child.  With 
all  the  tenderness  and  sympathy  possible,  I  am  compelled  to 
speak  plainly.  I  wished  to  spare  your  feelings.  You  will  not 
permit  me  to  do  so." 

The  incisiveness  of  his  speech  cut  the  air  like  ice  falling 
from  a  glacier,  and  Roma  felt  herself  turning  pale  with  a  sense 
of  something  fearful  whirling  around  her. 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  297 

"  According  to  your  own  plans,  David  Rossi  is  to  marry 
you  within  a  week,  although  a  month  ago  he  spoke  of  you  in 
public  as  an  unworthy  woman.  Will  you  be  good  enough  to 
tell  me  how  this  miracle  has  come  to  pass  ?  " 

She  laughed,  and  tried  to  carry  herself  bravely. 

"  If  it  is  a  miracle,  how  can  I  explain  it  ?  "  she  said. 

"  Then  permit  me  to  do  so.  He  is  going  to  marry  you  be- 
cause he  no  longer  thinks  as  he  thought  a  month  ago;  because 
he  believes  he  was  wrong  in  what  he  said,  and  would  like  to 
wipe  it  out  entirely." 

"  He  is  going  to  marry  me  because  he  loves  me,"  she  an- 
swered hotly.  "  That's  why  he  is  going  to  marry  me."  And 
with  a  fiery  brightness  in  her  eyes,  she  turned  round  and  added, 
"  Because  he  loves  me  with  a  love  that  is  pure  and  holy." 

At  the  next  moment  a  f  aintness  came  over  her,  and  a  misty 
vapour  flashed  before  her  sight.  In  her  anger  she  had  torn  open 
a  secret  place  in  her  own  heart,  and  something  in  the  past  of 
her  life  seemed  to  escape  as  from  a  tomb. 

"  Then  you  have  not  told  him  ? "  said  the  Baron  in  so  low 
a  tone  that  he  could  scarcely  be  heard. 

"  Told  him  what  ? "  she  said. 

"  The  truth— the  fact." 

She  caught  her  breath  and  was  silent. 

"  My  child,  you  are  doing  wrong.  There  is  a  secret  between 
you  already.  That  is  a  bad  basis  to  begin  life  upon.  And  the 
love  that  is  raised  on  it  will  be  a  house  built  on  the  sand." 

Her  heart  was  beating  violently,  but  she  turned  on  him 
with  a  burning  glance. 

"  What  do  you  mean  ?  "  she  said,  while  the  colour  increased 
in  her  cheeks  and  forehead.  "  I  am  a  good  woman.  You  know 
I  am." 

"  To  me,  yes !    The  best  woman  in  the  world,"  he  answered. 

She  had  risen  to  her  feet,  and  was  standing  by  the  chimney 
piece. 

"  Understand  me,  my  child,"  he  said  affectionately.  "  When 
I  say  you  are  doing  wrong,  it  is  only  in  keeping  a  secret  from 
the  man  you  intend  to  marry.  Between  you  and  me  .  .  .  there 
is  no  secret." 

She  looked  at  him  with  haggard  eyes. 

"  For  me  you  are  everything  that  is  sweet  and  good,  but  for 
another — who  knows  ?  When  a  man  is  about  to  marry  a  wom- 
an, there  is  one  thing  he  can  never  forgive.  Need  I  say  what 
that  is?  N^o  use  telling  him  that  her  heart  is  pure — her  soul 
20 


298  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

untainted — that  it  was  the  impulse  of  a  moment — and  that  her 
will  was  forced  or  suspended.  The  fact,  '  Yes,'  or  '  No,'  that  is 
the  question." 

The  glow  that  had  suffused  her  face  changed  to  the  pallor 
of  marble,  and  she  turned  to  the  Baron  and  stood  over  him 
with  the  majesty  of  a  statue. 

"  Is  it  you  that  tell  me  this  ?  "  she  said.  "  You — you !  Can 
a  woman  never  be  allowed  to  forget  ?  Must  the  fault  of  another 
follow  her  all  her  life  ?  Oh,  it  is  cruel !  It  is  merciless  .  .  . 
But  no  matter !  "  she  said  in  another  voice,  and,  turning  away 
from  him  she  added,  as  if  speaking  to  herself :  "  He  believes 
everything  I  tell  him.    Why  should  I  trouble  ?  " 

The  Baron  followed  her  with  a  look  that  pierced  to  the 
depths  of  her  soul. 

"  Then  jow  have  told  him  a  falsehood  ?  "  he  said. 

She  pressed  her  lips  together  and  made  no  answer. 

"  That  was  foolish.  By-and-bye,  somebody  may  come  along 
who  will  tell  him  the  truth." 

"  What  can  anyone  tell  him  that  he  has  not  heard  already? 
He  has  heard  everything,  and  put  it  all  behind  his  back." 

"  Could  nobody  bring  conviction  to  his  mind  ?  Nobody 
whatever?  Not  even  one  who  had  no  interest  in  slander- 
ing you  ? " 

She  looked  at  him  in  a  frightened  way. 

"  You  don't  mean  that  you  .  .  ." 

"  Wliy  not  ?  He  has  come  between  us.  What  could  be  more 
natural  than  that  I  should  tell  him  so  ? " 

A  look  of  dismay  came  over  her  face,  and  it  was  followed 
by  an  expression  of  terror. 

"  But  you  wouldn't  do  that,"  she  stammered  out.  "  You 
couldn't  do  it.    It  is  impossible.    You  are  only  trying  me." 

His  face  remained  perfectly  passive,  and  she  seized  him  by 
the  arm. 

"Think!  Only  think!  You  would  do  no  good  for  your- 
self. You  might  stop  the  marriage — yes!  But  you  wouldn't 
carry  out  your  political  purpose.  You  couldn't!  And  while 
you  would  do  no  good  for  yourself,  think  of  the  harm  you  would 
do  for  me.  He  loves  me  and  you  would  hurt  his  beautiful  faith 
in  me,  and  I  should  die  of  grief  and  shame." 

She  stopped  to  question  his  face,  which  had  begun  to  ex- 
press sviffering. 

"And  then  I  love  him!  Oh,  how  much  I  love  him!  The 
other  wasn't  love.    You  know  it  wasn't." 


THE  PRIME   MINISTER  299 

She  spoke  rapidly,  without  waiting  to  think  of  the  effect  of 
her  words. 

"  You  are  cruel,  my  child,"  he  said,  speaking  with  dignity. 
"  You  think  /  am  hard  and  unrelenting,  but  you  are  selfish  and 
cruel.  You  are  so  concerned  about  your  own  feelings  that 
you  don't  even  suspect  that  perhaps  you  are  wounding 
mine." 

"  Ah,  yes,  it  is  too  bad,"  she  said,  dropping  to  her  knees  at 
his  feet.  "  After  all  you  have  been  very  good  to  me  thus  far, 
and  it  was  partly  my  own  fault  if  matters  ended  as  they  did. 
Yes,  I  confess  it.  I  was  vain  and  proud.  I  wanted  all  the 
world.  And  when  you  gave  me  everything,  being  so  tied  your- 
self, I  thought  I  might  forgive  you.  .  .  .  But  I  was  wrong — 
I  was  to  blame — nothing  in  the  world  could  excuse  you — I  saw 
that  the  moment  afterwards.  I  really  hadn't  thought  at  all 
until  then^but  then  my  soul  awoke — and  then  .  .  ." 

She  turned  her  head  aside  that  he  might  not  see  her  face. 

"  And  then  love  came,  and  I  was  like  a  woman  who  had  mar- 
ried a  man  thirty  years  older  than  herself — married  without 
love — just  for  the  sake  of  her  pride  and  vanity.  But  love,  real 
love,  drove  all  that  away.  It  is  gone  now,  I  only  wish  to  lead  a 
good  life,  however  humble  it  may  be.  Let  me  do  so !  .  .  . 
Don't  take  him  away  from  me !     Don't  .  .  ." 

She  stammered  and  stopped,  Avith  the  sudden  consciousness 
of  what  she  was  doing.  She  was  pleading  for  the  life  of  the 
man  she  loved  to  his  enemy,  the  man  who  said  he  loved  her. 

"  What  a  fool  I  am !  "  she  said,  leaping  to  her  feet.  "  Wliat 
fresh  story  can  you  tell  him  that  he  is  likely  to  believe  ? " 

"  I  can  tell  him  that,  according  to  the  law  of  nature  and  of 
reason,  you  belong  to  me,"  said  the  Baron. 

"  Very  well !  It  will  be  your  word  against  mine,  will 
it  not?" 

"  I  can  tell  him,"  continued  the  Baron,  "  that  before  God  I 
am  your  husband ;  and  if  he  cOmes  between  us,  it  will  only  be 
as  your  lover  and  your  paramour." 

"  Tell  him,"  said  Eoma,  "  and  he  will  fling  your  insults  in 
your  face." 

The  Baron  rose  and  began  to  walk  about  the  room,  and 
there  were  some  moments  in  which  nothing  could  be  heard  but 
the  slight  creaking  of  his  patent-leather  boots.    Then  he  said : 

"  In  that  case  I  should  be  compelled  to  challenge  him." 

"  Challenge  him !  "  She  repeated  the  words  with  scorn. 
"  Is  it  likely  ?    Do  you  forget  that  duelling  is  a  crime,  that  you 


300  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

are  a  Minister,  that  you  would  have  to  resign,  and  expose  your- 
self to  penalties  ?  " 

The  Baron  bowed  his  head.  "  There  are  moments  in  a 
man's  life  when  he  does  not  consider  such  things — when  his 
political  aims  are  swallowed  up  by  his  personal  feelings.  I 
know  the  world  thinks  that  I  am  first  the  statesman.  But 
you  .  .  .  you  ought  to  know  that  whatever  the  strength  of  my 
political  ambition,  I  am  above  everything  else  a  man." 

Itoma's  face,  which  had  worn  a  smile  of  triumph,  became 
clouded  again. 

"  If  a  man  insults  me  grievously  in  my  affections  and  my 
honour,  I  will  challenge  him,"  said  the  Baron. 

"  But  he  will  not  fight — it  would  be  contrary  to  his  prin- 
ciples," said  Roma. 

"  In  that  event  he  will  never  be  able  to  lift  his  head  in  Italy 
again.  But  make  no  mistake  on  that  point,  my  child.  The 
man  who  is  told  that  the  woman  he  is  going  to  marry  is  secretly 
the  wife  of  another,  must  either  believe  it  or  he  must  not  be- 
lieve it.  If  he  believes  it  he  casts  her  off  for  ever.  If  he  does 
not  believe  it,  he  fights  for  her  name  and  his  own  honour.  If 
he  does  neither,  he  is  not  a  man." 

Roma  had  returned  to  the  stool,  and  was  resting  her  elbows 
on  her  knees  and  gazing  into  the  fire. 

"  Have  you  thought  of  that  ?  "  said  the  Baron.  "  If  the 
man  fights  a  duel  it  will  be  in  defence  of  what  you  have  told 
him.  In  the  blindness  of  his  belief  in  your  word  he  will  be 
ready  to  risk  his  life  for  it.  Are  you  going  to  stand  by  and  see 
him  fight  for  a  lie  ?  " 

Roma  hid  her  face  in  her  hands. 

"  Say  he  is  wounded — it  will  be  for  a  lie !  Say  he  wounds 
his  adversary — that  will  be  for  a  lie  too!  " 

Roma  listened  with  a  sense  of  fear  and  guilt. 

"  Say  that  David  Rossi  kills  me — what  then?  He  must  fly 
f  r<mi  Italy,  and  his  career  is  at  an  end.  If  he  is  alone,  he  is  a 
miserable  exile  who  has  earned  what  he  may  not  enjoy.  If  you 
are  with  him  you  are  both  miserable,  for  a  lie  stands  between 
you.  Every  hour  of  your  life  is  poisoned  by  the  secret  you 
cannot  share  with  him.  You  are  afraid  of  blurting  it  out  in 
your  sleep.  At  last  you  go  to  him  and  confess  everything. 
What  then  ?     The  idol  he  worshipped  has  turned  to  clay." 

Roma  listened,  panting  and  crushed. 

"  Then  think  of  his  remorse !  What  he  thought  an  act  of 
retribution  is  a  crime.    The  dead  man  had  told  the  truth,  and 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  301 

he  committed  murder  on  the  word  of  a  woman  who  was  a  de- 
ceiver— a  drab." 

Roma  raised  her  hands  to  her  head  as  if  to  avert  a  blow. 
The  Baron  came  nearer,  and  stood  immediately  above  her  as  he 
marshalled  one  terror  after  another. 

"  Or  say  that  I  kill  David  Rossi — what  then  ?  You  have 
allowed  him  to  die  for  a  lie.  But  that  is  not  all.  The  dead 
know  everything.  Being  dead,  David  Rossi  knows  all,  and 
you  live  in  fear  of  your  own  death  because  you  think  he  waits 
for  you  in  the  other  world  to  charge  you  with  your  untruth." 

"  Stop !  Stop !  "  she  cried,  in  a  choking  voice,  and  lifting 
her  face,  distorted  with  suffering,  he  saw  tears  in  her  brilliant 
eyes.  To  see  Roma  cry  touched  the  only  tenderness  of  which 
his  iron  nature  was  capable.  He  patted  the  beautiful  head 
at  his  feet,  and  said  in  a  low,  caressing  tone : 

"Why  will  you  make  me  seem  so  hard,  my  child?  There 
is  really  no  need  to  talk  of  these  things.  They  will  not  occur. 
How  can  I  have  any  desire  to  degrade  you  since  I  must  degrade 
myself  at  the  same  time?  I  have  no  wish  to  tell  anyone  the 
secret  which  belongs  only  to  you  and  me.  In  that  matter  you 
were  not  to  blame,  either.  It  was  all  my  doing.  I  was  swelter- 
ing under  the  shameful  law  which  tied  me  to  a  dead  body,  and 
I  tried  to  attach  you  to  me.  And  then  your  beauty — your  love- 
liness .  .  ." 

"Oh,  why  didn't  I  die?"  said  Roma.  She  was  looking 
straight  into  the  fire,  and  the  big  drops  were  rolling  down 
her  cheeks. 

"  Come !  It's  not  so  bad  as  that.  But  if  the  marriage 
cannot  take  place  without  the  consequences  I  speak  of,  you 
must  see  that  it  is  better  that  it  should  not  take  place  at  all 
Postpone  it.  Don't  let  it  trouble  you  that  the  banns  are  pub- 
lished. A  marriage  can  be  celebrated  at  any  time  within  one 
hundred  and  eighty  days.  Before  that  Parliament  will  have 
risen,  the  man  will  be  arrested,  and  the  law  will  take  its  course. 
As  to  the  rest,  leave  everything  to  Time !  All  our  little  heart- 
aches yield  to  that  remedy,  my  child !  " 

At  that  moment  Felice  announced  Commendatore  An- 
gelelli.  Roma  walked  over  to  the  window  and  leaned  her  face 
against  the  glass.  Snow  was  still  falling,  and  there  were  some 
rumblings  of  thunder.  Sheets  of  light  shone  here  and  there  in 
the  darkness,  but  the  world  outside  was  dark  and  drear.  Would 
David  Rossi  come  to-night?     She  almost  hoped  he  would  not. 


302  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

VIII 

Behind  her  the  Prime  Minister,  who  had  apologised  for 
turning  her  house  into  a  temporary  Ministry  of  the  Interior, 
was  talking  to  his  Chief  of  Police. 

"  You  were  there  yourself  ?  " 

"  I  was,  Excellency.  I  went  up  into  a  high  part  and  looked 
down.    It  was  a  strange  and  wild  sight." 

"  ITow  many  would  there  be  ?  " 

"  Impossible  to  guess.  Inside  and  outside,  Romans,  coun- 
try people,  perhaps  a  hundred  thousand." 

"  And  Rossi's  speech  ?  " 

"  The  usual  appeal  to  the  passions  of  the  people,  Excellency. 
The  people  were  the  only  authority.  The  sovereignty  of  the 
people  must  be  established  at  all  costs.  The  ruling  classes 
were  the  real  rebels,  and  even  the  Church  was  conspiring 
against  the  poor.  In  short,  the  familiar  attempt  to  promote 
hate  between  the  classes.  But  clever!  Very  clever!  your  Ex- 
cellency. An  extraordinary  exhibition  of  the  art  of  flying  be- 
tween wind  and  water.  We  couldn't  have  found  a  word  that 
was  distinctly  seditious,  even  if  we  hadn't  had  your  Excel- 
lency's order  to  let  the  man  go  on." 

"  You  have  stopped  the  telegraph  wires  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  And  the  foreign  correspondents?  " 

"  The  troublesome  ones  are  held  in  their  houses,  and  told 
to  keep  themselves  at  the  disposition  of  the  police." 

"  When  the  meeting  was  over,  Rossi  went  home  ? " 

"  He  did,  Excellency." 

"  And  the  hundred  thousand  ?  " 

"  In  their  excitement  they  began  to  sing  and  to  march 
through  the  streets.  They  are  still  doing  so.  After  going 
down  to  the  Piazza  Navona,  they  are  coming  up  by  the  Piazza 
del  Popolo  and  along  the  Babuino  with  banners  and  torches." 

"Men  only?" 

"  Men,  women  and  children." 

"  You  would  say  that  their  attitude  is  threatening?  " 

"  Distinctly  threatening,  your  Excellency." 

"  Let  yovir  delegates  give  the  legal  warning  and  say  that 
the  gathering  of  great  mobs  at  this  hour  will  be  regarded  as 
open  rebellion.  Allow  three  minutes'  grace  for  the  sake  of 
the  women  and  children,  and  then  ...  let  the  military  do  their 
duty." 


THE  PRIME   MINISTER  303 

"  Quite  so,  your  Excellency." 

"  After  that  you  may  carry  out  the  instructions  I  gave 
you  yesterday." 

"  Certainly,  your  Excellency." 

"Keep  in  touch  with  all  the  leaders.  Some  of  them 
will  find  that  the  air  of  Rome  is  a  little  dangerous  to  their 
health  to-night  and  may  wish  to  fly  to  Switzerland  or  to 
England,  where  it  would  be  difficult  or  impossible  to  follow 
them." 

Roma  heard  behind  her  the  thin  cackle  as  of  a  hen  over  her 
nest,  which  always  came  when  Angelelli  laughed. 

"  Their  meeting  itself  was  illegal,  and  our  licence  has 
been  abused." 

"  Grossly  abused,  your  Excellency." 

"  The  action  of  the  Government  was  too  conciliatory,  and 
has  rendered  them  audacious,  but  the  new  law  is  clear  in  pro- 
hibiting the  carrying  of  seditious  flags  and  emblems."  . 

"  We'll  deal  with  them  according  to  Articles  134  and  252 
of  the  Penal  Code,  your  Excellency." 

"  You  can  go.  But  come  back  immediately  if  anything 
happens.  I  must  remain  here  for  the  present,  and  in  case  of 
riot,  I  may  have  to  send  you  to  the  King." 

Angelelli's  thin  voice  fell  to  a  whisper  of  awe  at  the  men- 
tion of  Majesty,  and  after  a  moment  he  bowed  and  backed  out 
of  the  room. 

Roma  did  not  turn  round,  and  the  Minister,  who  had 
touched  the  bell  and  called  for  pen  and  paper,  sj^oke  to  her 
from  behind. 

"  I  daresay  you  thought  I  was  hard  and  inhuman  at  the 
Palazzo  Braschi  yesterday,  but  I  was  really  very  merciful.  In 
letting  you  see  the  preparations  to  enclose  your  friend  as 
in  a  net,  I  merely  wished  you  to  warn  him  to  fly  from  the 
country.  He  has  not  done  so  and  now  he  must  take  the  con- 
sequences." 

Felice  brought  the  writing  materials  and  the  Baron  sat 
down  at  the  table.  There  was  a  long  silence  in  which  nothing 
could  be  heard  but  the  scratching  of  the  Minister's  pen,  the 
snoring  of  the  poodle,  and  the  deadened  sound  through  the 
wall  of  the  Countess's  testy  voice  scolding  Natalina. 

Roma  stepped  into  the  boudoir.  The  room  was  dark  and 
from  its  unlit  windows  she  could  see  more  plainly  into  the 
streets.  Masses  of  shadow  lay  around,  but  the  untrodden  steps 
were  white  with  thin  snow,  and  the  piazza  was  alive  with  black 


304:  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

figures  which  moved  on  the  damp  ground  like  worms  on  an 
upturned  sod. 

She  was  leaning  her  hot  forehead  against  the  glass  and 
looking  out  with  haggard  eyes,  when  a  deep  rumble  as  of  a 
great  multitude  came  from  below.  The  noise  quickly  increased 
to  a  loud  uproar,  with  shouts,  songs,  whistles  and  shrill  sounds 
blown  out  of  door-keys.  Before  she  was  aware  of  his  presence 
the  Baron  was  standing  behind  her,  between  the  window  and 
the  pedestal  with  the  plaster  bust  of  Rossi. 

"  Listen  to  them,"  he  said.  "  The  proletariat  indeed  1  .  .  . 
And  this  is  the  flock  of  bipeds  to  whom  men  in  their  senses 
would  have  us  throw  the  treasures  of  civilisation,  and  hand 
over  the  delicate  machinery  of  government." 

He  laughed  bitterly,  and  drew  back  the  curtain  with  an  im- 
patient hand. 

"Democracy!  Christian  Democracy!  Vox  Populi,  vox 
Dei!  The  sovereignty  and  infallibility  of  the  people !  Pshaw! 
I  would  as  soon  believe  in  the  infallibility  of  the  Pope !  " 

The  crowds  increased  in  the  piazza  until  the  triangular 
space  looked  like  the  rapids  of  a  swollen  river,  and  the  noise 
that  came  up  from  it  was  like  the  noise  of  falling  cliffs  and 
uprooted  trees. 

"  Fools !  Rabble !  Too  ignorant  to  know  what  you  really 
want,  and  at  the  mercy  of  every  rascal  who  sows  the  wind  and 
leaves  you  to  reap  the  whirlwind.'" 

Roma  crept  away  from  the  Baron  with  a  sense  of  physical 
repulsion,  and  at  the  next  moment,  from  the  other  window, 
she  heard  the  blast  of  a  trumpet.  A  dreadful  silence  followed 
the  trumpet  blast,  and  then  a  clear  voice  cried : 

"  In  the  name  of  the  law  I  command  you  to  disperse." 

It  was  the  voice  of  a  delegate  of  the  police.  Roma  could 
see  the  man  on  the  lowest  stage  of  the  stops  with  his  tri-coloured 
scarf  of  office  about  his  breast.  A  second  blast  came  from  the 
trumpet,  and  agin  the  delegate  cried : 

"  In  the  name  of  the  law  I  command  you  to  disperse." 

At  that  moment  somebody  cried,  "  Long  live  the  Republic 
of  Man !  "  and  thei'e  was  great  cheering.  In  the  midst  of  the 
cheering  the  trumpet  sounded  a  third  time,  and  then  a  loud 
voice  cried,  "  Fire !  " 

At  the  next  moment  a  volley  was  fired  from  somewhere,  a 
cloud  of  white  smoke  was  coiling  in  front  of  the  windows  at 
which  Roma  stood,  and  women  and  children  in  the  vagueness 
below  were  uttering  acute  cries. 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  305 

"Oh!    Oh!    Oh!" 

"  Don't  be  afraid,  my  child.  Nothing  has  happened  yet. 
The  police  had  orders  to  fire  first  over  the  people's  heads." 

In  her  fear  and  agitation  Koma  ran  back  to  the  outer  room, 
and  a  moment  afterwards  Angelelli  opened  the  door  and  stood 
face  to  face  with  her. 

"  What  have  you  done  ?  "  she  demanded. 

"  An  unfortunate  incident,  Excellency,"  said  Angelelli,  as 
the  Baron  appeared.  "  After  the  warning  of  the  delegate  the 
mob  laughed  and  threw  stones,  and  the  Carabineers  fired. 
They  were  in  the  piazza  and  fired  up  the  steps." 

"Well?" 

"  Unluckily  there  were  a  few  persons  on  the  upper  flights 
at  the  moment,  and  some  of  them  are  wounded,  and  a  child 
is  dead." 

Roma  muttered  a  low  moan  and  sank  on  to  the  stool. 

"Whose  child  is  it?" 

"  We  don't  yet  know,  but  the  father  is  there,  and  he  is 
raging  like  a  madman,  and  unless  he  is  arrested  he  will  provoke 
the  people  to  frenzy,  and  there  will  be  riot  and  insurrection." 

The  Baron  took  from  the  table  a  letter  he  had  written 
and  sealed. 

"  Take  this  to  the  Quirinal  instantly.  Ask  for  an  immedi- 
ate audience  with  the  King.  When  you  receive  his  written 
reply  call  up  the  Minister  of  War  and  say  you  have  the  royal 
decree  to  declare  a  state  of  siege." 

Angelelli  was  going  out  hurriedly. 

"  Wait !  Send  to  the  Piazza  Navona  and  arrest  Rossi.  Be 
careful !  You  will  arrest  the  Deputy  under  Articles  134  and 
252  on  a  charge  of  using  the  great  influence  he  has  acquired 
over  the  people  to  urge  the  masses  by  speeches  and  Avritings  to 
resist  public  authority,  and  to  change  violently  the  form  of 
government  and  the  constitution  of  the  State." 

"Good!" 

Angelelli  disappeared,  the  acute  cries  outside  died  away, 
the  scurrying  of  flying  feet  was  no  more  heard,  and  Roma  was 
still  on  the  stool  before  the  fire,  moaning  behind  the  hands  that 
covered  her  face.  The  Baron  came  near  to  her  and  touched 
her  with  a  caressing  gesture. 

"  I'm  sorry,  my  child,  very  sorry.  Rossi  is  a  poet,  not  a 
statesman,  but  he  is  none  the  less  dangerous  on  that  account. 
The  hiindred  and  one  groups  playing  for  their  own  hand  in 
Parliament  are  easily  dealt  with  by  any  government,  but  a  man 


306  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

like  this,  who  wants  nothing,  and  means  something,  and  lives 
in  the  faith  of  an  idea,  is  not  to  be  trifled  with  in  any  country. 
No  wonder  he  has  fascinated  you,  as  he  has  fascinated  the 
people,  but  time  will  wipe  away  an  impression  like  that.  The 
best  thing  that  can  happen  for  both  of  you  is  that  he  should 
be  arrested  to-night.  It  will  save  you  so  many  ordeals  and  so 
much  sorrow." 

At  that  moment  a  cannon  shot  boomed  through  the  dark- 
ness outside,  and  its  vibration  rattled  in  the  windows  and 
walls. 

"  The  signal  from  St.  Angelo,"  said  the  Baron.  "  The  gates 
are  closed  and  the  city  is  under  siege." 


IX 

When  in  the  commotion  of  the  household  caused  by  the 
near  approach  of  the  crowd  which  brought  Rossi  home  from 
the  Coliseum,  little  Joseph  slipped  down  the  stairs  and  made 
a  dash  for  the  street,  he  chuckled  to  himself  as  he  thought  how 
cleverly  he  had  eluded  his  mother,  who  had  been  looking  out 
of  the  bedroom  window,  and  those  two  old  watch-dogs,  his 
grandfather  and  grandmother,  who  were  nearly  always  at 
the  door. 

It  was  not  until  he  was  fairly  plunged  into  the  great  sea 
of  the  city,  and  had  begun  to  be  a  little  dazed  by  more  lights 
than  he  ever  saw  when  he  closed  his  eyes  in  bed,  that  he  re- 
membered he  had  disobeyed  orders  and  broken  his  promise  not 
to  go  out.  But  even  then,  he  told  himself,  he  was  not  respon- 
sible. He  was  Donna  Roma's  porter  now.  Therefore,  he 
couldn't  be  Joseph,  could  he? 

So,  with  his  magic  mace  in  hand,  the  serious  man  of  seven 
marched  on,  and  reconciled  himself  to  his  disobedience  by 
thinking  nothing  more  about  it.  People  looked  at  him  and 
smiled  as  he  passed  through  the  Piazza  Madama  where  the 
Senate  House  stands,  and  that  made  him  lift  his  head  and  walk 
on  proudly,  but  as  he  went  through  the  Piazza  of  the  Pantheon 
a  boy  who  was  coming  out  of  a  cook-shop  with  a  tray  on  his 
head,  cried :  "  Helloa,  kiddy !  playing  Pulcinello  ?  "  and  that 
dashed  his  worshipful  dignity  for  several  minutes. 

It  began  to  snow,  and  the  white  flakes  on  his  gold  braid 
clouded  his  soul  at  first,  but  when  he  remembered  that  porters 
had  to  work  in  all  weathers,  he  wagged  his  sturdy  head  and 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  307 

strode  on.  He  was  going  to  Donna  Roma's  according  to  her 
invitation,  and  he  found  his  way  by  his  recollection  of  what 
he  had  seen  when  he  made  the  same  journey  on  Sunday.  Here 
a  tramcar  coming  round  a  corner,  there  a  line  of  posts  across 
a  narrow  thoroughfare,  and  then  a  fat  man  with  a  gruff  voice 
shouting  something  at  the  door  of  a  trattoria. 

At  the  corner  of  a  lane  there  was  a  shop  window  full  of 
knives  and  revolvers.  He  didn't  care  for  knives — they  cut 
people's  fingers — but  he  liked  guns,  and  when  he  grew  up  to 
be  a  man  he  would  buy  one  and  kill  somebody. 

Coming  to  the  Piazza  Monte  Citorio,  he  remembered  the 
soldiers  at  the  door  of  the  House  of  Parliament,  and  the  cellar 
full  of  long  guns  with  knives  (bayonets)  stuck  on  the  ends  of 
their  muzzles.  One  of  the  soldiers  laughed,  called  him 
"  Uncle,"  and  asked  him  something  about  enlisting,  but  he 
only  struck  his  mace  firmly  on  the  flags  and  marched  on. 

At  the  comer  of  the  Piazza  Colonna  he  had  to  wait  some 
time  before  he  could  cross  the  Corso,  for  the  crowds  were  com- 
ing both  ways  and  the  traffic  frightened  him.  He  had  made 
various  little  sorties  and  had  been  driven  back  when  a  soft 
hand  was  slipped  into  his  fat  palm  and  he  was  piloted  across 
in  safety.  Then  he  looked  up  at  his  helper.  It  was  a  girl, 
with  big  white  feathers  in  her  hat,  and  her  face  painted  pink 
and  white  like  the  face  of  the  little  Jesus  in  the  cradle  in 
church  at  Christmas.  She  asked  him  what  his  name  was  and 
he  told  her ;  also  where  he  was  going,  and  he  told  her  that  too. 
It  was  dark  by  this  time,  and  the  great  little  man  was  begin- 
ning to  be  glad  of  company. 

"  Aren't  you  afraid  of  carrying  that  heavy  stick  ?  "  she 
said. 

It  wasn't  a  stick,  and  he  wasn't  a  bit  tired  of  carrying  it. 

"  But  aren't  you  tired  yourself?  "  she  said,  and  he  admitted 
that  perhaps  it  was  so. 

So  she  picked  him  up,  and  carried  him  in  her  arms  while 
he  carried  the  mace,  and  for  some  minutes  both  were  satisfied. 
But  presently  some  one  in  the  Via  Tritone  cried  out,  "  Helloa, 
here  comes  the  Blessed  Bambino,"  whereupon  his  worshipful 
dignity  was  again  wounded  and  he  wriggled  to  the  ground. 

It  began  to  thunder  and  there  were  some  flashes  of  light- 
ning, whereupon  Joseph  shuddered  and  crept  closer  to  the 
girl's  side. 

"  Are  you  afraid  of  lightning,  Joseph  ?  "  she  asked. 

He  wasn't.    He  often  saw  it  at  home  when  he  went  to  bed. 


308  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

His  motlier  held  his  hand  and  he  covered  up  his  head  in  the 
clothes,  and  then  he  liked  it. 

The  girl  took  the  wee,  fat  hand  again,  and  the  little  feet 
toddled  on. 

After  vain  efforts  to  snatch  a  kiss,  which  were  defeated  by  a 
proper  withdrawal  of  the  manly  head  in  the  cocked  hat,  the  girl 
with  the  feathers  and  the  doll's  face  left  him  in  the  Via  due 
Macelli  under  a  bright  electric  lamp  that  hung  over  the  door 
of  a  cafe-chantant. 

Joseph  knew  then  that  he  was  not  far  from  Donna  Roma's, 
and  he  began  to  think  of  what  he  would  do  when  he  got  there. 
If  the  big  porter  at  the  door  tried  to  stop  him  he  would  say, 
"  I'm  a  little  Roman  boy,"  and  the  man  would  have  to  let  him 
go  up.  Then  he  would  take  charge  of  the  hall,  and  when  he 
had  not  to  open  the  door  he  would  play  with  the  dog,  and  some- 
times with  Donna  Roma. 

With  sound  practical  sense  he  thought  of  his  wages.  Would 
it  be  a  penny  a  week  or  twopence?  He  thought  it  would  be 
twopence.  Men  didn't  work  for  nothing  nowadays.  He  had 
heard  his  father  say  so. 

Then  he  remembered  his  mother,  and  his  lip  began  to  drop. 
But  it  rose  again  when  he  told  himself  that  of  course  she  would 
come  every  night  to  put  him  to  bed  as  iisual.  "  Good-night, 
mamma!  See  you  in  the  morning,"  he  would  say,  and  when 
he  opened  his  eyes  it  would  be  to-morrow. 

He  was  feeling  sleepy  now,  and  do  what  he  would  he  could 
hardly  keep  his  eyes  from  closing.  But  he  was  in  the  Piazza 
di  Spagna  by  this  time,  and  his  little  feet  in  their  top-boots  be- 
gan to  patter  up  the  snowy  steps. 

There  are  three  principal  landings  to  the  Spanish  Steps, 
and  the  great  little  man  of  seven  had  reached  the  second  of 
them  when  a  noise  in  the  streets  below  made  him  stop  and  turn 
his  head. 

A  great  crowd,  carrying  hundreds  of  torches,  was  marching 
into  the  piazza.  They  were  singing,  shouting,  and  blowing 
whistles  and  trumpets.  It  was  like  Befana  in  the  Piazza 
ISTavona,  and  when  Joseph  blinked  his  eyes  he  almost  thought 
he  was  at  hoiue  in  bed. 

All  at  once  silence — then  soldiers — then  a  jump  all  over 
his  body  like  that  which  came  to  him  when  he  was  falling  asleep 
— then  a  sense  of  something  warm — then  a  buzzing  noise — 
then  a  boom  like  that  of  the  gun  of  St.  Angelo  at  dinner- 
time .  .  .  then  a  deep,  familiar  voice  calling  and  calling  to 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  309 

him,   and  his   eyes   opened   for   a   moment   and   saw   his   fa- 
ther's face. 

"  Good-night,  papa !    So  sleepy !    See  you  in  the  morning !  " 

And  then  nothing  more. 

While  Elena  waited  for  Bruno's  return  with  little  Joseph, 
she  went  up  and  downstairs  between  David  Rossi's  apartment 
and  her  own  on  all  manner  of  invented  errands.  Meantime  she 
tried  to  keep  down  her  anxiety  by  keeping  up  her  anger.  Joseph 
was  so  worrisome.  When  he  came  home  he  would  have  to 
be  whipped  and  sent  to  bed  without  his  supper.  It  was  true  his 
verdura  was  ready  on  the  stove,  but  he  must  not  be  allowed  to 
touch  it.  You  really  must  be  strict  with  children.  They 
would  like  you  all  the  better  for  it  when  they  grew  up  to  be 
men  and  women. 

But  every  moment  broke  down  this  brave  severity,  until  the 
desire  to  punish  Joseph  for  his  disobedience  was  all  gone.  She 
stood  at  the  head  of  the  stairs  and  listened  for  his  voice  and  his 
little  pattering  feet.  If  she  had  heard  them,  her  anxious  ex- 
pression would  have  given  way  to  a  cross  look  and  she  would 
have  scolded  both  father  and  son  all  the  way  up  to  bed.  But 
they  did  not  come,  and  she  turned  to  the  dining-room  with  a 
downcast  face. 

"  Where  can  the  boy  be  ?  If  I  could  only  have  him  back ! 
I  will  never  let  him  out  of  my  sight  again.    !Rever !  " 

David  Rossi,  who  was  walking  in  the  sitting-room  to 
calm  his  nerves  after  a  trying  time,  tried  to  comfort  her.  It 
would  be  all  right.  Depend  upon  it,  Joseph  had  gone  up 
to  Donna  Roma's.  She  was  to  remember  what  Bruno  told 
them  on  Sunday.  "  The  little  Roman  boy."  Joseph  had 
thought  of  nothing  else  for  three  days,  and  this  being  his  birth- 
day .  .  . 

"  You  think  so  ?     You  really  think  .  .  ." 

"I'm  sure  of  it.  Bruno  will  be  back  presently,  carrying 
Joseph  on  his  back.  Or  perhaps  Donna  Roma  will  send  the  boy 
home  in  the  carriage,  and  the  great  little  man  will  come  up- 
stairs like  the  Mayor.  Meantime  she  has  kept  him  to  play 
with,  and  .  .  ." 

"  Yes,  that  must  be  it,"  said  Elena,  with  shining  eyes.  "  The 
Signorina  must  have  kept  him  to  play  with !  He  must  be  play- 
ing now  with  the  Signorina !  " 

At  that  moment  through  the  open  door  there  came  the 
sound  of  a  heavy  tread  on  the  stairs,  mingled  with  various 


310  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

voices.  Elena's  shining  face  suddenly  clouded,  and  Rossi,  who 
read  her  thought,  went  out  on  to  the  landing.  Bruno  was  com- 
ing up  the  staircase  with  something  in  his  arms,  and  behind 
him  were  the  Garibaldian  and  his  old  wife  and  a  line  of 
strangers. 

Rossi  ran  down  two  flights  of  the  stairs  and  met  them.  He 
saw  everything  as  by  a  flash  of  lightning.  The  boy  lay  in  his 
father's  arms.  He  was  white  and  cold,  with  his  head  fallen 
back,  and  his  hair  matted  with  flakes  of  snow.  His  gay  coat 
was  open,  and  his  little  stained  shirt  was  torn  out  at  the  breast. 
A  stranger  coming  behind  was  carrying  the  cocked  hat 
and  mace. 

Elena,  who  was  at  the  head  of  the  stairs  by  this  time,  was 
screaming. 

"  Keep  her  away,  sir,"  said  Bruno.  The  poor  fellow  was 
trying  to  be  brave  and  strong,  but  his  voice  was  like  a  voice 
from  the  other  side  of  an  abyss. 

They  took  the  boy  into  the  dining-room,  and  laid  him  on  a 
sofa.  There  was  no  keeping  the  mother  back.  She  forced  her 
way  through,  and  laid  hold  of  the  child. 

"  Get  away,  he's  mine,"  she  cried  fiercely. 

And  then  she  dropped  on  her  knees  before  the  boy,  threw 
her  arms  about  him  and  called  on  him  by  his  name. 

"  Joseph !  Speak  to  me !  Open  your  eyes  and  speak !  .  .  . 
What  have  you  been  doing  with  my  child?  He  is  ill.  Why 
don't  you  send  for  a  doctor  ?  Don't  stand  there  like  fools.  Go 
for  a  doctor,  I  tell  you  .  .  .  Joseph !  Only  a  word !  .  .  .  Have 
you  carried  him  home  without  his  hat  on?  And  it's  snowing 
too!  He'll  get  his  death  of  cold  .  .  .  what's  this?  Blood  on 
his  shirt?  And  a  wound?  Look  at  this  red  spot.  Have  they 
shot  him  ?  No,  no,  it's  impossible !  A  child  !  Joseph !  Joseph ! 
Speak  to  met  .  .  .  Yes,  his  heart  is  beating."  She  was  press- 
ing her  ear  to  the  boy's  breast.  "  Or  is  it  only  the  beating  in 
my  head?  Oh,  where  is  the  doctor?  Why  don't  you  send 
for  him  ?  " 

They  could  not  tell  her  it  was  useless,  that  a  doctor 
had  seen  the  child  already,  and  that  all  was  over.  All  they 
could  do  was  to  stand  around  her  with  awe  in  their  faces. 
She  understood  them  without  words.  Her  hair  fell  from 
its  knot,  and  her  eyes  began  to  blaze  like  the  eyes  of  a 
maniac. 

"  They've  killed  my  child !  "  she  cried.  "  He's  dead !  My 
little  boy  is  dead !     Only  seven  and  it  was  his  birthday !     Oh, 


THE  PRIME   MINISTER  311 

God!  My  child!  What  had  he  done  that  they  should  kill 
him?" 

And  then  Bruno,  who  was  standing  by  with  a  wild  lustre  in 
his  eyes,  said  between  his  teeth,  "  Done  ?  Done  nothing  but 
live  under  a  government  of  murderers  and  assassins." 

The  room  filled  with  people.  Neighbours  who  had  never 
before  set  foot  in  the  rooms  came  in  without  fear,  for  death 
was  among  them.  They  stood  silent  for  the  most  part,  only 
handing  round  the  table  the  little  cocked  ■  hat  and  the  mace, 
with  sighs  and  deep  breathing.  But  some  one  speaking  to  Rossi 
told  him  what  had  happened.  It  was  at  the  Spanish  Steps. 
The  Delegate  gave  the  word,  and  the  Carabineers  fired  over  the 
people's  heads.  But  they  hit  the  child  and  made  him  cold.  His 
little-  heart  had  bui-st. 

"  And  I  was  going  to  whip  him,"  said  Elena.  "  Not  a  min- 
ute before  I  was  talking  about  the  rod,  and  not  giving  him  his 
supper.    Oh,  God,  I  can  never  forgive  myself." 

And  then  the  blessed  tears  came  and  she  wept  bitterly. 

David  Rossi  put  his  arms  about  her  and  her  head  fell  on  to 
his  breast.  All  barriers  were  broken  down,  and  she  clung  to 
him  and  cried.  He  smoothed  her  hair  and  comforted  her,  say- 
ing in  a  low  and  tremulous  voice,  " '  He  will  gather  his  lambs 
in  his  arms  and  carry  them  in  his  bosom.' " 

The  strangers  dropped  their  heads  and  began  to  go  away. 
"  Who  says  man  says  misery,"  said  the  Garibaldian,  as  he  wiped 
his  rheumy  eyes,  and  gently  pushed  the  people  out.  His  old 
wife,  who  had  taken  charge  of  the  hat  and  mace,  was  being 
comforted  by  some  women  near  the  door.  "  He  was  so  full  of 
fun,"  she  said.  " '  Grandma,'  he  used  to  say  .  .  ."  but  she 
could  go  no  further.  "  Well,  we  all  of  us  come  into  the 
world  crying,  and  none  of  us  go  out  smiling,"  the  women  an- 
swered. 

Just  then  there  were  cries  in  the  piazza.  "  Hurrah  for  the 
Revolution !  "  and  "  Down  with  the  destroyers  of  the  people  I  " 
came  in  the  woolly  tones  of  voices  shouting  in  the  snow.  Some- 
body on  the  stairs  explained  that  a  young  man  was  going  about 
waving  a  bloody  handkerchief,  and  that  the  sight  of  it  was  ex- 
asperating the  people  to  frenzy.  Women  were  marching 
through  the  streets,  and  the  entire  city  was  on  the  point  of 
insurrection. 

In  the  dining-room  the  stricken  ones  were  still  standing  by 
the  couch.  Presently  there  was  a  sound  of  singing  outside.  A 
great  crowd  was  coming  into  the  piazza  singing  the  Garibaldi 


312  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

hymn.  Bruno  heard  it,  and  the  wild  lustre  in  his  eyes  gave 
place  to  a  look  of  savage  joy.  An  awful  oath  burst  from  his 
lips,  and  he  ran  out  of  the  house.  At  the  next  moment  he  was 
heard  in  the  street,  singing  in  a  thundering  voice: 

"  The  tombs  are  uncovered. 
The  dead  arise, 
The  martyrs  are  rising 
Before  ovir  eyes. " 

The  old  Garibaldian  threw  up  his  head  like  a  war-horse  at 
the  call  of  battle,  and  his  rickety  limbs  were  going  towards 
the  door. 

"  Stay  here,  father,"  said  Rossi,  and  the  old  man  obeyed 
hini. 

Elena  was  quieter  by  this  time.  She  was  sitting  by  the 
child  and  stroking  his  little  icy  hand. 

David  Kossi,  who  had  hardly  si^oken,  went  into  his  bedroom. 
His  lips  were  tightly  pressed  together,  his  eyes  were  bloodshot 
and  his  breath  was  labouring  hard  in  his  heaving  breast.  The 
white  heat  of  the  despairing  man  was  terrible. 

"  I  can  bear  no  more  of  it,"  he  thought.  "  I  have  tried  all 
peaceful  means  in  vain.  The  man  must  die  .  .  .  and  I  must  kill 
him  !  " 

He  took  up  his  dagger  paper-knife,  tried  its  point  on  his 
palm  with  two  or  three  reckless  thrusts  and  threw  it  back  on 
the  desk.  Then  he  went  down  on  his  hands  and  knees  and  rum- 
maged among  the  newspapei"s  lying'  in  heaps  under  the  window. 
At  last  he  found  what  he  looked  for.  It  was  the  six-chambered 
revolver  which  had  been  sent  to  him  as  a  present.  "  I'll  kill 
the  man  like  a  dog,"  he  thought. 

He  loaded  the  revolver,  put  it  in  his  breast  pocket,  went 
back  to  the  sitting-room,  and  made  ready  to  go  out. 

"  Look !  "  said  Elena,  as  he  passed  through  the  dining-room. 
She  had  been  turning  out  the  boy's  pockets,  and  was  crying  over 
his  little  treasures  as  they  came  up  one  by  one — a  cork,  a  peb- 
ble, a  rusty  nail,  and  a  piece  of  string. 

It  was  more  than  Rossi  could  bear,  and  without  looking, 
he  turned  to  the  door. 

"  I'll  not  be  long,"  he  said.  Something  in  his  voice  made 
Elena  lift  her  eyes,  and  when  she  saw  him  it  was  almost  as  if 
another  man  stood  before  her. 

"Ml-.  Rossi!  .  .  .  Brother  .  .  .  What  are  you  going  to  do?" 
she  cried,  but  he  was  gone  before  the  words  were  spoken. 


THE  PRIME   MINISTER  313 


Ten  was  striking  on  the  different  clocks  of  the  city.  Felice 
had  lit  the  stove  in  the  boudoir  and  the  wood  was  burning  in 
fitful  blue  and  red  flames.  There  was  no  other  light  in  the 
room,  and  Roma  lay  with  her  body  on  the  floor,  and  her  face 
buried  on  the  couch. 

The  world  outside  was  full  of  fearful  and  unusual  noises. 
Snow  was  still  falling,  and  the  voices  heard  through  it  had  a 
peculiar  sound  of  sobbing.  The  soft  rolling  of  thunder  came 
from  a  long  way  off,  like  the  boom  of  a  slow  wave  on  a  distant 
sand-bank.  At  intervals  there  was  the  crackle  of  musketry,  like 
the  noise  of  rockets  sent  up  in  the  night,  and  soiuetimes  there 
were  pitiful  cries,  smothered  by  the  unreverberating  snow,  like 
the  cries  of  a  drowning  man  on  a  foundering  ship  at  sea. 

Roma,  face  downward,  heard  these  sounds  in  the  lapses  of 
a  terrible  memory.  She  was  seeing,  as  in  a  nightmare,  the  inci- 
dents of  a  night  that  was  hardly  six  weeks  past.  One  by  one 
the  facts  flashed  back  upon  her  with  a  burning  sense  of  shame, 
and  she  felt  herself  to  be  a  sinner  and  a  criminal. 

It  was  the  night  of  the  Royal  ball  at  the  Quirinal.  The 
blaze  of  lights,  the  glitter  of  jewels,  the  brilliant  throng  of 
handsome  men  and  lovely  women,  the  clash  of  music,  the  whi  rl 
of  dancing,  and  finally  the  smiles  and  compliments  of  the 
King.  Then  going  home  in  the  carriage  in  the  early  morning, 
swathed  in  furs  over  her  thin  white  silk,  with  the  Baron,  in 
his  decorations  worn  diagonally  over  his  white  breast,  and 
through  the  glass  the  waning  moon,  the  silent  stars,  the  empty 
streets. 

Then  this  room,  this  couch,  sinking  down  on  it,  very  tired, 
with  eyes  smiling  and  half  closed,  and  nearly  gone  already  into 
the  mists  of  sleep.  And  then  the  Baron  at  her  feet,  pressing 
his  lips  to  her  wrist  where  the  pulse  was  beating,  kissing  her 
arms  and  shoulders  ..."  Oh,  dear !  You  are  mad !  I  must  no,^ 
listen  to  you.  Let  me  go !  "  And  then  burning  words  of  love 
and  passion :  "  My  wife !  My  wife  that  is  to  be."  ..."  Oh, 
God,  what  will  become  of  me  ?  I  hate  you !  "  .  .  .  And  then 
the  call  of  her  aunt  from  the  adjoining  chamber,  "Roma!" 
I'inally,  with  a  long  shudder,  making  no  answer  to  the  caress- 
ing voice  at  her  ear,  going  out  of  the  room,  trembling  and 
silent,  like  one  who  had  passed  through  an  earthquake,  the 
human  earthquake  that  lays  bare  the  secret  of  sex. 

The  sobbing  sounds  from  outside  broke  in  on  Roma's  night- 
21 


314  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

mare,  and  when  the  chain  of  memory  linked  on  again  it  was 
morning  in  her  vision,  and  tlie  Countess  was  comforting  her  in 
a  whimpering  voice. 

"  After  all,  God  is  merciful,  and  there  are  things  that 
happen  to  everybody  that  can  be  atoned  for  by  prayer  and 
penance.  Besides,  the  Baron  is  a  man  of  honour,  and  the  poor 
maniac  can't  last  much  longer." 

The  sobbing  sounds  in  the  snow,  the  cries  far  away,  the 
crackle  of  the  rifle-shots,  the  rumble  of  the  thunder  broke  in 
again,  and  the  elements  outside  seemed  to  whirl  round  her  in 
the  tempest  of  her  trouble.  For  a  moment  she  lifted  her  head 
and  heard  voices  in  the  next  room. 

The  Baron  was  still  there,  and  from  time  to  time,  as  he 
wrote  his  despatches,  messengers  came  to  take  them  away,  to 
bring  rejilies  and  to  deliver  the  latest  news  of  the  night.  The 
populace  had  risen  in  all  parts  of  the  city,  and  the  soldiers  had 
charged  them.  There  had  been  several  misadventures  and 
many  arrests.  The  large  house  of  detention  by  St.  Andrea  delle 
Fratte  was  already  full,  but  the  people  continued  to  hold  out. 
They  had  disconnected  the  gas  at  the  gasometer  and  cut  the 
electric  wires,  and  the  city  was  plunged  in  darkness. 

"  Tell  the  electric  light  company  to  turn  on  the  flash-light 
from  Monte  Mario,"  said  the  Baron. 

And  when  the  voices  ceased  in  the  drawing-room  there  came 
the  deadened  sound  of  the  Countess's  frightened  treble  behind 
the  wall. 

"Oh,  Holy  Virgin,  full  of  grace,  save  me!  It  would  be  a 
sin  to  let  me  die  to-night !  Ploly  Virgin,  see !  I  have  given 
thee  two  more  candles.  Art  thou  not  satisfied  ?  Save  me  from 
murder.  Mother  of  God." 

Roma  saw  another  phase  of  her  vision.  It  was  filled  with  a 
new  face, which  made  her  at  once  happy  and  unhappy,proud  and 
ashamed.  Hitherto  the  only  condition  on  which  she  had  been 
able  to  live  with  the  secret  of  her  life  was  that  she  should  think 
nothing  about  it.  'Now  she  was  compelled  to  think,  and  she 
was  asking  herself  if  it  was  her  duty  to  confess. 

Before  she  married  David  Rossi  she  must  tell  him  every- 
thing. She  saw  herself  trying  to  do  so.  He  was  looking 
vacantly  before  him  with  the  deep  furrow  that  came  into  his 
forehead  when  he  was  strongly  moved.  She  had  sobbed  out  her 
story,  telling  all,  excusing  nothing,  and  now  she  was  waiting 
for  him  to  speak.  He  would  take  her  side,  he  would  tell  her 
she  had  been  more  sinned  against  than  sinning,  that  she  had 


THE   PRIME   MINISTER  315 

been  young  and  alone  at  the  mei'cy  of  an  evil  man,  and  that 
her  will  had  not  consented. 

At  last  he  spoke,  "  I  thought  the  daughter  of  Joseph  Eoselli 
would  have  starved  first !  "  She  began  to  sob,  but  he  showed 
no  mercy.  "  I  thought  my  little  Eoma  .  .  ."  he  said,  and 
then  she  heard  no  more,  for  his  voice  was  thick,  and  her  own 
sobs  were  stifling  her.  After  that  he  looked  at  her  with  swim- 
ming eyes,  and  she  thought  his  heart  would  fight  for  her.  But 
no !  "  Why  did  you  come  to  me  and  tell  that  lie  ? "  he  said, 
and  then  she  could  go  no  further.  She  could  not  confess  to  the 
plot  to  capture  and  degrade  him.  Her  heart  was  bursting,  but 
when  she  touched  him  he  seemed  to  shrink  away.  "  Well,  there's 
no  help  for  it !  Good-night !  "  he  said,  and  then  the  world  was 
a  blank,  life  was  gone,  and  everything  was  dust  and  ashes. 

"  No,  no  !  It  is  impossible !  "  she  cried  aloud,  and,  startled 
by  the  sound  of  her  voice,  the  Baron  came  into  the  room. 

"  My  dear  child !  "  he  said,  and  he  picked  her  up  from  the 
floor.  "  I  shall  never  be  able  to  forgive  myself  if  you  take 
things  like  this.  Every  tear  you  shed  will  burn  my  flesh  like 
fire.     Come  now,  dry  these  beautiful  eyes  and  be  calm." 

"  I  have  come  to  a  decision,"  she  said.  "  It  may  be  sudden, 
but  it  is  irrevocable,  therefore  do  not  try  to  alter  it.  I  am 
going  away." 

"  Yes,  yes,"  he  answered,  "  but  don't  let  us  talk  of  that  now. 
You  are  disturbed.  Things  have  happened  so  suddenly.  By- 
and-bye  you  will  be  better  and  then  everything  will  seem  dif- 
ferent." 

"  My  life  here  is  at  an  end  and  I  must  go  away.  It  has  been 
wrong  and  false,  and  I  am  determined  to  put  an  end  to  it.  I  do 
not  blame  you  more  than  myself,  but  I  am  ashamed  of  what  has 
happened  and  I  cannot  bear  to  think  of  it  any  longer." 

"  This  comes  of  sleeplessness,  my  child.  Confess,  now,  that 
you  have  not  been  sleeping  lately.  Sleep,  a  little  sleep,  and  all 
the  world  is  changed.". 

She  did  not  listen  to  him,  but  leaning  on  the  stove  and  fin- 
gering with  one  hand  the  frame  of  her  father's  picture  which 
hung  above  it,  she  said : 

"  I  see  now  that  hapijiness  was  not  for  me.  There  must 
be  some  punishment  for  every  sin,  however  little  one  has  been 
guilty  of  it,  and  perhaps  this  is  God's  way  of  asking  for  an 
expiation.  It  is  very,  xcry  hard  ...  it  seems  more  than  I  de- 
serve .  .  .  and  heavier  than  I  can  bear  .  .  .  but  there  is  no 
help  for  it." 


316  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

The  tears  she  brushed  from  her  eyes  seemed  to  be  gathering 
in  her  throat. 

"  The  bitterest  part  of  it  is  that  I  must  make  others  suffer 
for  it  also.  He  must  suffer  who  has  loved  and  trusted  me.  His 
love  for  me,  my  love  for  him,  this  has  been  dragging  him  down 
since  the  first  day  I  knew  him.  Perhaps  he  is  in  prison  by 
this  time." 

Sobs  interrupted  her  for  a  moment,  and  in  a  caressing  tone 
the  Baron  tried  to  comfort  her.  It  was  natural  that  she 
shovild  feel  troubled,  very  natural  and  very  womanly.  But  time 
was  the  great  remedy  for  human  ills.  It  would  heal  every- 
thing. 

"  Well,  everything  seems  to  be  over  now,"  she  said.  "  I  will 
not  trouble  anybody  much  longer.  I  will  break  with  the  past 
altogether,  and  leave  everything  behind  me.  In  any  case  I 
must  have  left  this  place  soon.  I  am  in  debt  to  the  landlord 
and  to  Madame  Sella  and  to  ...  to  everybody.  Perhaps  when 
I  am  gone  you  will  send  somebody  to  settle  up.  I  will  take 
nothing  with  me  but  the  dress  I  stand  in.  The  jewelry,  the 
hors^es  and  the  carriage,  and  the  furniture  will  bring  some- 
thing. Do  as  you  please  with  what  I  have,  and  if  there  is  any- 
thing short  perhaps  you  Avill  make  it  up  in  memory  of  all  that 
has  haiipencd.  You  will  have  nothing  more  to  pay  out  of 
my  father's  estate,  anyway  .  .  . 

"  I  shall  be  sorry  to  leave  my  aunt,  although  she  has  not 
been  good  company,  and  we  have  never  been  friends.  But  she 
will  be  better  off  in  her  last  days  under  your  protection,  and 
she  may  come  to  think  more  kindly  of  me  by-and-bye.  If  not,  I 
can't  help  it  now.  I  will  go  aAvay  to-morrow  to  begin  a  new 
life,  and  may  God  forgive  me,  and  help  me  to  purge  my  soul  of 
the  stain  of  the  past." 

Her  voice  failed  her,  and  she  broke  down  once  more. 

"  Eoma,"  said  the  Baron,  "  you  are  not  well.  When  we 
meet  again.  .  .  ." 

"  We  can  never  meet  again  where  I  am  going  to." 

She  raised  her  beautiful  eyes  and  he  understood  in  a  mo- 
ment. 

"Do  you  mean  that?"  he  asked. 

She  bowed  her  head. 

"You  intend  to  bury  yourself  in  a  convent?" 

"  If  they  will  have  me — yes.  It  is  my  only  refuge  now. 
Where  else  can  I  hide  myself?  When  a  woman  cannot  look 
into  the  face  of  the  one  she  loves  .  .  .  when  she  has  brought 


THE   PRIME   MINISTER  317 

grief  and  pain  and  imprisonment  on  him  who  loves  her 
best  .  .  ." 

"  Roma,"  said  the  Baron,  "  /  love  you  too.  Do  you  forget 
that  ?    I  love  you,  and  I  will  not  think  of  losing  you." 

The  impassive  man  had  undergone  a  change.  He  was  try- 
ing to  ijut  his  arms  about  her.    She  was  holding  him  off. 

"  I  do  not  wish  to  reproach  you,  but  I  cannot  listen  to 
you,"  she  said.  "  You  must  think  of  me  as  one  who  is 
dead." 

"  But  I  don't  mean  to  think  of  you  as  one  who  is  dead. 
I  want  you — you — you!  I  want  your  living  heart  to  answer 
to  my  heart.  I  want  the  breath  of  your  hair,  and  the  light  of 
your  eyes,  and  the  kiss  of  your  lips.  You  shall  not  go  into  a 
convent.  When  heaven  has  given  a  young  woman  beauty  and 
gifts  like  yours  she  has  no  right  to  bury  them  in  a  cell.  I  re- 
fuse to  think  of  it.  And  then  I  have  waited  for  you  so  long! 
Is  it  nothing  that  before  this  man  came  into  your  life  I  was 
with  you  always?  Think  of  your  childhood  .  .  .  Have  you 
anything  to  reproach  me  with  in  the  care  I  took  of  you  then? 
And  now  that  you  are  a  woman  what  do  I  want  but  to  put  you 
where  your  beauty  and  your  gifts  give  you  the  right  to  be — 
ahead  of  every  woman  in  Italy  who  does  not  sit  upon  a  throne." 

Again  he  tried  to  put  his  arms  about  her,  and  again  she 
held  him  off,  but  with  a  feebler  hand  than  before. 

"  Roma,  you  have  wounded  and  humiliated  and  insulted  me, 
but  you  are  the  only  woman  in  the  world  I  would  give  one 
straw  to  have.  I  will  make  you  the  wife  of  the  Dictator  of 
Italy,  and  when  all  these  troubles  are  over  and  you  are  great 
and  have  forgotten  what  has  taken  place  .  .  ." 

"  I  can  never  forget  and  I  don't  want  to  be  great.  I  only 
want  to  be  good.    Leave  me !  " 

"  You  are  good.  You  have  always  been  good.  What  hap- 
pened was  my  fault  alone  and  you  have  nothing  to  reproach 
yourself  with.  I  found  you  growing  up  to  be  a  great  woman, 
and  passing  out  of  my  legal  control,  while  I  was  bound  down  to 
a  poor,  helpless,  living  corpse.  Some  day  you  would  meet  a 
younger,  freer  man,  and  you  would  be  lost  to  me  for  good. 
Wasn't  it  human  to  try  to  hold  you  to  me  until  the  time  came 
when  I  could  claim  you  altogether?  And  if  meanwhile  this 
man  has  interposed  .  .  ." 

He  pointed  to  the  bust  on  the  pedestal.  She  looked  up  at 
it,  and  then  dropped  her  head. 

"  Say  no  more,"  she  said.    "  I  could  not  marry  you,  because 


318  THE  ETEKNAL  CITY 

I  do  not  love  you.  But  my  will  is  broken — I  have  no  more 
strength — leave  me  alone." 

He  allowed  a  moment  to  elapse,  and  when  he  spoke  again 
he  had  regained  his  old  impassive  manner. 

"  Put  the  man  out  of  your  mind,  my  dear,  and  all  will  be 
well.  Probably  he  is  in  the  hands  of  the  authorities  already, 
God  grant  it  may  be  so!  No  fear  of  his  arrest  this  time!  It 
cannot  be  complicated  by  the  danger  of  scandal.  Nobody  else's 
name  and  character  will  be  concerned  in  it.  And  if  it  serves  to 
dispose  of  a  dangerous  man  and  a  subversive  politician  I  am 
willing  to  let  everything  else  sleep." 

lie  paused  a  moment,  and  then  added  in  his  most  incisive 
accents.  "  But  if  not,  the  law  must  take  its  course,  and  David 
Leone  must  complete  what  David  Rossi  has  begun." 

At  that  moment  Felice's  dark  form  stood  against  the  light 
in  the  open  door. 

"  Commendatore  Angelelli  and  Charles  Minghelli,  Excel- 
lency." 

As  the  Baron  went  back  to  the  drawing-room  Roma  re- 
turned to  the  window.  Scales  of  snow  adhered  to  the  glass,  and 
it  was  difficult  to  see  anything  outside.  But  the  masses  of 
shadow  and  sheets  of  light  were  gone,  and  the  city  lay  in  utter 
darkness.  The  sobbing  sounds,  the  crackle  of  musketry  and 
the  rumble  of  thunder  were  all  gone,  and  the  air  was  empty  and 
void. 

At  one  moment  there  was  a  soft  patter  as  of  a  flock  of 
sheep  passing  under  the  window  in  the  darkness.  It  was  a  com- 
pany of  riflemen  going  at  a  quick  march  over  the  snow  with 
torches  and  lanterns. 

Voices  came  from  the  next  room  and  Roma  found  herself 
listening. 

"  Apparently  the  insurrection  is  suppressed,  your  Excel- 
lency." 

"  I  congratulate  you." 

^'  The  soldiers  are  patrolling  the  streets,  and  all  is  quiet." 

"Good!" 

"  We  have  some  hundreds  of  rioters  in  the  houses  of  de- 
tention, and  the  military  courts  will  begin  to  sit  to-morrow 
morning." 

"  Excellent !  " 

"  The  misadventures  have  been  few  and  unimportant — the 
child  I  spoke  of  being  the  only  one  killed." 

"  You  have  discovered  whose  child  it  was  ? " 


THE   PRIME  MINISTER  31^ 

"Yes.    Unluckily  ..." 

Roma  felt  dizzy.    A  thought  had  flashed  upon  her. 

"  It  is  the  child  of  Donna  Roma's  man,  Bruno  Rocco,  and 
apparently  .  .  ." 

A  choking  cry  rang  through  the  room.  Was  it  herself  who 
made  it'^ 

"  Go  on,  Commendatore.     Apparently  .  .  ." 

"  The  child  was  dressed  in  some  carnival  costume,  and  ap- 
parently he  was  on  his  way  to  this  house." 

Roma's  dizziness  increased,  and  to  save  herself  from  falling 
she  caught  at  a  side-table  that  stood  under  the  bust. 

On  this  table  were  some  sculptor's  tools — a  chisel  and  a 
small  mallet,  with  which  she  had  been  working. 

There  was  an  interval  in  which  the  voices  were  deadened 
and  confused.    Then  they  became  clear  and  sharp  as  before. 

"  But  the  most  important  fact  you  have  not  yet  given  me. 
I  trust  you  are  only  saving  it  up  for  the  last.  The  Deputy 
Rossi  is  arrested  ?  " 

"  Unfortunately  .  .  .  no.  Excellency." 

"No?" 

"  He  left  home  immediately  after  the  outbreak,  and  has  not 
been  seen  since.  Presently  the  flash-light  will  be  turned  on  by 
a  separate  battery  from  Monte  Mario,  and  every  corner  of  the 
city  shall  be  searched.    But  we  fear  he  is  gone." 

"Gone?" 

"  Perhaps  by  the  train  that  left  just  before  the  signal." 

Roma  felt  a  cry  rising  to  her  throat  again,  but  she  put 
up  her  hand  to  keep  it  down. 

"  No  matter !  Commendatore,  send  telegrams  after  the 
train  to  all  stations  up  to  the  frontier,  with  orders  that  nobody 
is  to  alight  until  every  carriage  has  been  overhauled.  Min- 
ghelli,  go  to  the  Consulta  immediately,  and  ask  the  Minister  of 
Foreign  Affairs  to  despatch  a  portrait  of  Rossi  to  every  for- 
eign Government." 

"  But  no  portrait  exists.  Excellency.  It  was  a  difficulty  I 
found  in  England." 

"  Yes,  there  is  a  portrait.    Come  this  way." 

Roma  felt  the  room  going  round  as  the  Baron  came  into  it 
and  switched  on  the  light. 

"  There  is  the  only  portrait  of  the  illustrious  Mr.  Deputy, 
and  our  hostess  will  lend  it  to  be  photographed." 

"Never!  "  said  Roma,  and  taking  up  the  mallet,  she  struck 
the  bust  a  heavy  blow,  and  it  fell  in  fragments  to  the  floor. 


320  THE -ETERNAL  CITY 

Half  an  hour  afterwards  Roma  was  sitting  amid  the  wreck 
of  her  work  when  the  Baron,  wearing  his  fur-lined  overcoat  and 
pulling  on  his  gloves,  came  into  the  boudoir. 

"  I  am  compelled,"  he  said,  "  to  inflict  my  presence  upon 
you  for  a  moment  longer  in  order  to  tell  you  what  my  attitude 
in  the  future  is  to  be,  and  what  feelings  are  to  guide  me.  I 
will  continue  to  think  of  you  as  my  wife  according  to  the  law 
of  nature,  and  of  the  man  who  has  come  between  us  as  your 
lover.  I  will  not  give  you  uj)  to  him  whatever  happens;  and  if 
he  tries  to  take  you  away,  or  if  you  try  to  go  to  him,  you 
must  be  prepared  to  find  that  I  offer  every  resistance.  Two 
passions  are  now  engaged  against  the  man,  and  I  will  not  shrink 
from  any  course  that  seems  necessary  to  subdue  either  him  or 
you,  or  both." 

"  Do  what  you  please,"  she  answered.  "  Degrade  me,  drag 
me  in  the  dust,  if  you  like,  but  you  will  not  make  me  help  you 
to  destroy  David  Rossi,  whatever  you  do." 

"  We  shall  see.  I  have  conquered  worse  obstacles,  and — 
who  knows? — perhaps  in  this  instance  Nature  herself  will  fight 
for  nie  to  call  you  back  to  your  true  place  and  your  duty." 

An  involuntary  shudder  passed  over  her,  and  she  looked  at 
him  with  frightened  eyes. 

"  Meantime,  my  child,  remember  that  in  my  eyes  you  are 
as  pure  as  a  Madonna — always  have  been,  always  will  be.  Good- 
night !  " 

A  moment  afterwards  she  heard  the  patrol  challenging  him 
on  the  piazza.  Then  "  Pardon,  Excellency,"  and  the  soft  swish 
of  carriage  wheels  in  the  snow. 


XI 

When  Rossi  left  home  he  was  like  a  raging  madman.  His 
knees  tottered  under  him  and  a  misty  vapour  filled  his  eyes,  but 
his  heart  was  alive  wdth  rage  and  hatred. 

lie  made  straight  for  the  Palazzo  Braschi  at  the  other  side 
of  the  piazza,  and  going  up  the  marble  staircase  on  limbs  that 
could  scarcely  support  him,  his  thoughts  went  back  in  a  broken 
maze  to  the  scene  he  had  left  behind. 

"  Our  little  boy  dead !  Dead  in  his  mother's  arms !  Oh, 
God,  let  me  meet  the  man  face  to  face!  .  .  .  Our  innocent 
darling!  The  light  of  our  eyes  put  out  in  a  moment!  Our 
sweet  little  Joseph!  .  .  •.  Shall  there  be  no  retribution?     God 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  321 

forbid !  The  man  who  has  been  the  chief  cause  of  this  crime 
shall  be  the  first  to  sutler  ijunishment !  No  use  wasting  time  on 
the  hounds  who  executed  his  orders.  They  are  only  delegates 
of  police,  and  over  them  is  this  Minister  of  the  Interior.  He 
alone  is  responsible,  and  he  is  here !  " 

When  he  reached  the  green  baize  door  to  the  hall  he 
stopped  to  wipe  away  the  perspiration  which  stood  on  his  fore- 
head although  his  face  was  flecked  with  snow.  The  messengers 
looked  scared  when  he  stepped  inside,  and  they  answered  his 
questions  with  obvious  hesitation.  The  Minister  was  not  in  his 
cabinet.  He  had  not  been  there  that  night.  It  was  possible  the 
Honourable  might  find  his  Excellency  at  home. 

Kossi  turned  on  his  heel  instantly,  and  went  hurriedly 
downstairs.  He  would  go  to  the  Palazzo  Leone.  There  was 
no  time  to  lose.  Presently  the  man  would  hide  himself  in  the 
darkness  like  a  toad  under  a  stone. 

As  he  left  the  Ministry  of  the  Interior  he  heard  the  singing 
of  the  Garibaldi  hymn  in  the  distance,  and  turning  into  the 
Corso  Victor  Emmanuel,  he  came  upon  crowds  of  people  and 
some  noisy  and  tumultuous  scenes. 

One  group  had  broken  into  a  gun  shop  and  seized  rifles  and 
cartridges;  another  group  had  taken  possession  of  two  electric 
tramcars,  and  tumbled  them  on  their  sides  to  make  a  barri- 
cade across  the  street;  and  a  third  group  was  tearing  up  the 
street  itself  to  use  its  stones  for  missiles.  "  Our  turn  now," 
they  were  shouting,  and  there  were  screams  of  delirious 
laughter. 

As  Rossi  crossed  the  bridge  of  St.  Angelo  the  cannon  was 
fired  from  the  Castle,  and  he  knew  that  it  was  meant  for  a  sig- 
nal. "  No  matter !  "  he  thought.  "  It  will  be  too  late  when  the 
soldiers  arrive." 

jSTotwithstanding  the  tumult  in  the  city  the  Piazza  of  St. 
Peter's  was  silent  and  deserted.  Not  the  sound  of  a  footfall, 
not  the  rattle  of  a  carriage-wheel;  only  the  drip-drip  of  the 
fountains,  whose  waters  were  playing  in  the  lamp-light  through 
the  falling  snow,  and  the  echoing  hammer  of  the  clock  of  the 
Basilica. 

The  porter  of  the  Palazzo  Leone  was  asleep  in  his  lodge, 
and  Rossi  passed  upstairs. 

"  I'll  bring  the  man  to  justice  now,"  he  thought.  "  He  im- 
agined we  were  only  tame  cats  and  would  submit  to  anything. 
He  was  wrong.  We'll  show  him  we  know  how  to  punish  tyrants. 
Haven't  we  always  done  so,  we  Romans?     He  has  a  sharp 


322  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

tongue  for  the  people,  but  I  have  a  sharper  one  here  for 
him." 

And  he  felt  for  the  revolver  in  his  breast-pocket  to  make 
certain  it  was  there. 

The  lackey  in  knee-breeches  and  yellow  stockings  who  an- 
swered the  inside  bell  was  almost  speechless  at  the  sight  of  the 
white  face  which  confronted  him  at  the  door.  No,  the  Baron 
was  not  at  home.  He  had  not  been  there  since  early  in  the 
evening.  Had  he  gone  to  the  Pref ettura  ?  Possibly !  Or  the 
Consulta?     Perhaps. 

"  Which,  man,  which  ?  "  said  Rossi,  and  to  say  something 
the  lackey  stammered  "  The  Consulta,"  and  closed  the  door. 

Rossi  set  his  face  towards  the  Foreign  Office.  There  was  a 
light  in  the  stained-glass  windows  of  the  Pope's  private  chapel 
— the  Holy  Father  was  at  his  prayers.  A  canvas-covered  barrow 
containing  a  man  who  had  been  injured  by  the  soldiers,  was 
being  carried  into  the  Hospital  of  Santo  Spirito,  and  a  woman 
and  a  child  were  walking  and  crying  beside  it. 

The  streets  were  covered  with  broken  tiles  which  had  been 
thrown  on  to  the  heads  of  the  cavah-y  as  they  galloped  through 
the  principal  thoroughfares.  Carabineers  with  revolvers  in 
hand  were  dragging  themselves  on  their  stomachs  along  the 
roofs,  trying  to  surprise  the  rioters  who  were  hiding  behind 
chimney-stacks.  Some  one  shouted :  "  Cut  the  electric  wires !  " 
and  men  were  clambering  up  the  tall  posts  and  breaking  the 
electric  lamps. 

The  Consulta — the  office  of  the  Minister  of  Foreign  Affairs 
— stands  in  the  Piazza  of  the  Quirinal,  and  when  Rossi  reached 
it  the  great  scjuare  of  the  King  was  as  silent  as  the  great  square 
of  the  Pope  had  been. 

Two  sentries  were  in  boxes  on  either  side  of  the  royal  gate, 
and  one  Carabineer  was  in  the  doorway.  The  gardens  down  the 
long  corridor  lay  dark  in  the  shadows,  but  the  fountain  with 
sculptured  horses,  the  splashing  water,  and  the  front  of  the 
building  were  white  under  the  electric  lamps  as  if  from  a  daz- 
zling moon. 

Before  turning  into  the  silent  courtyard  of  the  Consulta, 
Rossi  paused  and  listened  to  the  noises  that  came  from  the 
city.  Men  were  singing  and  women  were  screaming.  The  rat- 
tle of  musketry  mingled  with  the  cries  of  children.  And  over 
all  was  the  steady  downfall  of  the  snow,  and  the  dull  rumble 
of  distant  thunder. 

Rossi  held  his  head  between  his  hands  to  prevent  his  senses 


THE   PRIME   MINISTER  323 

from  leaving  him.  His  rage  was  ebbing  away,  and  he  was  be- 
ginning to  tremble.  Nevertheless,  he  forced  himself  to  go  on. 
As  he  rang  the  bell  at  the  Foreign  Office,  he  was  partly  con- 
scious of  a  secret  desire  that  the  Prime  Minister  might  not  be 
there. 

The  porter  was  not  sure.  The  Baron's  carriage  had  just 
gone.  Let  him  ask  on  the  telephone.  .  .  .  No,  there  had  been  a 
messenger  from  the  Minister  of  the  Interior,  but  the  Minister 
himself  had  not  been  there  that  night. 

Rossi  took  a  long  breath  of  relief  and  went  away.  He  had 
returned  to  the  bright  side  of  the  piazza  when  the  lights  seemed 
to  be  wiped  out  as  though  by  an  invisible  wing,  and  the  entire 
city  was  plunged  in  darkness.  At  the  next  moment  a  squadron 
of  cavalry  galloped  up  to  the  Quirinal,  and  the  gates  of  the 
royal  palace  and  of  the  Consulta  were  closed. 

Midnight  struck. 

For  two  hours  the  soldiers  had  been  charging  the  crowds  by 
the  light  of  lanterns  and  torches.  They  had  arrested  hundreds 
of  persons.  Chained  together,  two  and  two,  the  insurgents  had 
been  taken  to  the  places  of  detention,  amid  the  cries  of  their 
women  and  children.  "  Who  knows  whether  we  shall  see  each 
other  again ! "  said  the  prisoners,  as  they  passed  into  the 
"  House  of  Pain."  One  old  woman  went  on  her  knees  to  the 
soldiers,  and  begged  them  to  have  pity  on  the  people.  "  They 
are  your  brothers,  my  sons,"  she  cried. 

One  o'clock  struck. 

The  streets  were  still  dark,  but  a  search-light  from  Monte 
Mario  was  sweeijing  over  the  city  like  a  flash  of  a  supernatural 
eye.  With  tottering  limbs,  and  his  head  on  his  breast,  David 
Rossi  was  walking  down  the  Via  due  Macelli,  towards  the  col- 
umn of  the  Immaculate  Conception,  when  a  young  girl  spoke 
to  him. 

"  Honourable,"  she  said,  "  is  it  true  that  the  little  boy  is 
dead?  ...  it  is?  Oh,  dear!  I  met  him  in  the  Corso,  and 
brought  him  up  as  far  as  the  Varietes,  and  if  I  had  only  taken 
him  all  the  way.  .  .  .  Oh,  I  shall  never  forgive  myself !  " 

Out  of  his  comfortless  heart  he  did  his  best  to  comfort  her. 
She  had  nothing  to  reproach  herself  with.  It  was  God  who  had 
done  this,  and  little  Joseph  was  in  Heaven. 

"  I  shall  always  think  of  that,  Honourable,"  said  the  girl. 
And  then  she  lifted  her  poor  face,  painted  like  a  doll's  but 
innocent  as  an  angel's,  and  asked  him  if  he  would  kiss  hei". 
He  kissed  her  on  the  forehead,  and  she  went  her  way. 


324  THE   ETERNAL  CITY 

Tlic  city  was  quiet,  and  all  was  hushed  on  every  side  when 
Kossi  found  himself  on  a  flight  of  steps  at  the  back  of  lioma's 
apartment.  I'rom  these  steps  a  door  opened  into  the  studio. 
One  panel  of  the  door  was  glazed,  and  a  light  was  shining  from 
within.  Going  cautiously  forward,  Rossi  looked  into  the  room. 
Roma  was  seated  on  a  stool,  with  her  hands  clasped  in  her 
lap,  and  her  hair  hanging  loose.  She  was  very  pale.  Her  face 
expressed  unutterable  sadness. 

Rossi  listened  for  a  moment,  but  there  was  not  a  sound 
to  be  heard  except  that  of  the  different  clocks  chiming  the 
quarter.    Then  he  tapped  lightly  on  the  glass. 

"  Roma !  "  he  said  in  a  low  tone.     "  Roma !  " 

She  rose  up  and  shrank  back.  Then  coming  to  the  door, 
and  shielding  her  eyes  from  the  light,  she  put  her  face  close  to 
the  pane.    At  the  next  moment  she  threw  the  door  open. 

"  It  is  you  ? "  she  said  in  a  tremulous  voice,  and  taking  his 
hand  she  drew  him  hurriedly  into  the  house. 


XII 

Ai'^i'iiu  the  Baron  was  gone,  Roma  had  sat  a  long  time  in 
thi:  (lark  among  the  ruins  of  the  broken  bust.  Notwithstanding 
her  courageous  bearing,  she  was  consumed  by  fear.  The  great 
fact  remained.  What  the  Baron  had  said  was  true.  She  knew 
it  was  true.  In  her  inmost  heart  she  must  always  know  it. 
Therefore,  if  she  married  David  Rossi  there  would  be  one 
chamber  of  her  heart  which  he  could  never  enter.  Would  that 
be  love,  trust,  wedlock,  comiilete  surrender? 

When  twelve  o'clock  struck  she  was  feeling  hot  and  fever- 
ish, and  in  spite  of  the  coldness  of  the  night  she  rose  and 
opened  the  windoAV.  The  snow  had  ceased  to  fall,  the  thun- 
der was  gone,  and  the  city  was  quiet.  Through  the  still  air 
came  the  soft  swell  of  an  organ  and  the  faint  sound  of  voices. 
The  nuns  of  Trinita  de'  Monti  were  singing  their  midnight 
office. 

Roma  closed  her  eyes  and  listened.  She  could  see  and  hear 
everything.  The  dim  church,  the  iron  screen  across  it,  the 
lines  of  white  figures,  like  ghosts,  kneeling  in  the  shadows,  the 
altar  lit  up  by  two  or  three  small  candles,  and  then  the  voice 
of  one  of  the  nuns  who  was  singing  above  the  rest.  How  sweet ! 
How  solemn !  Peace !  The  Church  was  peace — peace  and  rest 
after  the  noise  and  riot  of  life.     If  the  sisters  would  receive 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  325 

her,  she  would  still  go  into  the  convent.  It  was  her  only  hope 
now,  her  only  refuge. 

She  thought  of  Rossi.  He  was  gone  and  he  might  never 
hear  what  had  befallen  her,  but  perhaps  he  would  come  there 
some  day,  and  sit  before  the  screen  at  Benediction,  and  hear 
her  voice  as  she  heard  the  voice  of  the  nun,  and  recognise  her 
by  that  and  so  learn  everything.  And  then  he  would  suffer. 
There  was  a  strange,  sweet,  secret,  unfathomable  joy  in  the 
thought  that  Eossi  would  suffer  when  he  found  where  she  was 
and  what  she  had  done. 

Tears  were  falling  on  her  hands  as  the  singing  ended.  At 
that  moment  the  revolving  searchlight  on  Monte  Mario  passed 
over  the  room.  The  white  flash  lit  up  the  broken  fragments  at 
her  feet,  and  brought  a  new  train  of  reflections.  The  bust  she 
destroyed  had  been  only  the  plaster  cast;  the  piece-mould  re- 
mained and  might  be  a  cause  of  danger. 

She  closed  the  window,  took  a  candle,  and  went  down  to  the 
studio  to  put  the  mould  out  of  the  way.  She  had  done  so  and 
was  sitting  to  rest  and  to  think  when  Rossi's  knock  came  at 
the  door.  In  a  moment  all  her  dreams  were  gone.  She  was 
clasped  in  his  arms  and  had  put  up  her  mouth  to  be  kissed. 

"Is  it  you?" 

"  Roma ! " 

It  was  not  at  first  that  she  realised  what  was  happening,  that 
they  were  together  again,  when  all  had  seemed  to  be  over.  But 
after  a  moment  she  recovered  from  her  bewilderment,  and  ex- 
tinguished the  candle  lest  Rossi  should  be  seen  from  outside. 
Then  she  clung  to  him  afresh,  and  he  tightened  his  anns 
about  her. 

They  were  in  the  dark,  save  at  intervals  when  the  revolving 
light  in  its  circuit  of  the  city  swept  across  the  studio,  and  lit 
up  their  faces  as  by  a  flash  of  lightning.  He  seemed  to  be 
dazed.  His  weary  eyes  looked  as  if  their  light  were  almost 
extinct. 

"  You  are  safe  ?    You  are  well  ?  "  she  asked. 

"  Oh,  God,  what  sights !  "  he  said.  "  You  have  heard  what 
has  happened  ? " 

"  Yes,  yes !     But  you  are  not  injured  ?  " 

"  The  people  were  peaceful  and  meant  no  evil,  but  the 
soldiers  were  ordered  to  fire,  and  our  little  boy  is  dead." 

"  Don't  let  us  speak  of  it.  .  .  .  The  police  were  told  to  arrest 
you,  but  you  have  escaped  thus  far,  and  now  .  .  ." 

"  Bruno  is  taken  and  hundreds  of  others  are  in  prison." 


326  THE  ETERNAL   CITY 

"But  you  are  safe?    You  are  well?    You  are  uninjured?" 

"  Yes,"  he  answered,  between  his  teeth,  and  then  he  cov- 
ered his  face  with  his  hands.  "  God  knows  I  did  my  best 
to  prevent  this  bloodshed: — I  would  have  laid  down  my  life 
to  prevent  it." 

"  God  does  know  it." 

"  Take  this." 

lie  drew  something  from  his  breast-pocket  and  put  it  into 
her  hands. 

It  was  the  revolver. 

"  I  cannot  trust  myself  any  longer." 

"  You  haven't  used  it  ?  " 

"  No." 

"Thank  God!" 

"  I  should  have  done  so  if  I  could  have  met  the  man  face 
to  face." 

"The  Baron?" 

"  I  searched  for  him  everywhere,  and  couldn't  find  him. 
God  kept  him  out  of  my  way  to  save  me  from  sin  and  shame." 

With  a  frightened  cry  she  put  down  the  revolver  and 
clasped  her  hands  about  his  neck.  He  began  to  recover  his 
dazed  senses  and  to  smooth  the  hair  on  her  damp  forehead. 

"  My  poor  Roma !  You  didn't  think  we  were  to  part  like 
this?" 

Her  arms  slackened  and  she  dropped  her  head  on  to  his 
shoulder. 

"  Last  night  you  told  me  to  fly,  and  I  wouldn't  do  so.  There 
was  no  man  in  Rome  I  was  afraid  of  then.  But  to-night  there 
is  some  one  I  am  afraid  of.    I  am  afraid  of  myself." 

"  You  intend  to  go  ?  "  she  said,  lifting  her  face. 

"Yes!  I  shall  feel  like  a  captain  who  deserts  his  sinking 
ship.  Would  to  God  I  could  have  gone  down  with  her !  .  .  .  Yet 
no !  "  he  cried  impetuously.  "  She  is  not  lost  yet.  Everything 
is  in  God's  hands.  Perhaps  there  is  work  for  me  abroad  now 
that  the  paths  are  closed  to  me  at  home.  Let  us  wait  and 
see." 

They  were  both  silent  for  a  while. 

"  Then  it's  all  over,"  she  said,  gulping  down  a  sob. 

"  God  forbid !  This  black  night  in  Rome  is  only  the  begin- 
ning of  the  end.  It  will  be  the  dawn  of  the  resurrection  every- 
whei-e." 

"  But  it  is  all  over  between  you  and  me,"  she  faltered. 

"  Indeed,  no  !    No,  no  !    I  cannot  take  you  with  me.    That  is 


THE   PRIME   MINISTER  327 

impossible.  I  couldn't  see  yovi  suffer  hunger  and  tliii'st  and  the 
privations  of  exile,  but  .  .  ." 

"  Our  marriage  cannot  be  celebrated  now,  and  that  being 
so  .  .  ." 

"  The  banns  are  good  for  half  a  year,  Roma,  and  before 
that  time  I  shall  be  back.  Have  no  fear!  The  immortality 
stirring  beneath  the  ruins  of  this  old  city  will  give  us  victory 
all  over  Italy.  I  will  return  and  we  shall  be  very  happy.  How 
happy  we  shall  be !  " 

"  Yes,  yes,"  she  brought  out  at  intervals. 

"  Be  brave,  my  girl,  be  brave !  " 

"  Yes,  yes." 

The  revolving  search-light  flashed  through  the  room  at  that 
moment  and  she  dropped  her  face  again. 

"  Dearest,"  she  said  faintly,  "  if  I  should  not  be  here  when 
you  come  back  .  .  ." 

He  started  and  seized  her  arm. 

"  Roma,  you  cannot  intend  to  submit  to  the  will  of  that 
man  ? " 

She  shook  her  head  as  it  rested  on  his  shoulder. 

"  The  man  is  a  tyrant.    He  may  put  pressure  upon  you." 

"  It  is  not  that." 

"  He  may  even  make  you  suffer  for  my  sake." 

"  Nor  that  either." 

"  By-and-bye  he  may  require  everybody  to  take  an  oath  of 
allegiance  to  the  King." 

"  I  have  taken  mine  already- — to  my  King." 

"  Roma,  if  you  wish  me  to  stay  I  will  do  so  in  spite  of 
everything." 

"  I  wish  you  to  go,  dearest." 

"  Then  what  is  it  you  fear  ?  " 

"  Nothing — only  .  .  ." 

"  But  you  are  sad.    Why  is  it  ?  " 

"  A  foreboding.    I  feel  as  if  we  were  parting  for  ever." 

He  passed  his  hands  through  her  hair.  "  It  may  be  so. 
Only  God  can  tell." 

"  It  was  too  sweet  dreaming.  I  was  too  happy  for  a  little 
while." 

"  If  it  must  be,  it  must  be.  But  let  us  be  brave,  dear !  We, 
who  take  up  a  life  like  this,  must  learn  renunciation  .  .  .  Cry- 
ing, Roma  ? " 

"  No !  Oh,  no  !  But  renunciation  !  That's  it — renuncia- 
tion."    She  could  feel  the  beating  of  her  heart  against  his 


328  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

breast.  "  Love  comes  to  everyone,  but  to  some  it  comes  too 
late,  and  then  it  comes  in  vain."  She  was  striving  to  keep 
down  her  sobs.  "  They  have  only  to  conquer  it  and  renounce  it, 
and  to  pray  God  to  unite  thorn  to  their  loved  ones  in  another 
life."  She  was  choking,  but  she  struggled  on.  "  Sometimes  I 
think  it  must  be  my  lot  to  be  like  that.  Other  women  may 
dream  of  love  and  home  and  children  .  .  ." 

"  Don't  unman  me,  Roma." 

"  Dearest,  promise  me  that  whatever  happens  you  will  think 
the  best  of  me." 

"  Roma !  " 

"  Promise  me  that  whoever  says  anything  to  the  contrary 
you  will  always  believe  I  loved  you." 

"  Why  should  we  talk  of  what  can  never  happen  ?  " 

"  If  we  are  parting  for  ever  ...  if  we  are  saying  a  long 
farewell  to  all  earthly  affections,  promise  me  ..." 

"  For  God's  sake,  Roma !  " 

"  Promise  me !  "  she  cried  in  a  voice  of  pitiful  entreaty. 

"  I  promise  !  "  he  said.     "  And  you?  " 

"  I  promise  too — I  promise  that  as  long  as  I  live,  and  wher- 
ever I  am  and  whatever  becomes  of  me,  I  will  .  .  .  yes,  because 
1  cannot  help  it  ...  I  will  love  you  to  the  last." 

Saying  this  in  passionate  tones,  she  drew  down  his  head, 
and  he  met  her  kiss  with  his  lips. 

"  [t  is  our  marriage,  Rossi.  Others  are  married  in  church, 
and  by  the  hand,  and  with  a  wedding.  We  are  married  in  our 
spirits  and  our  souls." 

A  long  time  passed  during  which  they  did  not  speak.  The 
searcli-light  flashed  in  on  them  again  and  again  with  its  super- 
natural eye,  and  as  often  as  it  did  so  Rossi  looked  at  her  with 
strange  looks  of  pity  and  of  love. 

Meantime,  she  cut  a  lock  from  her  hair,  tied  it  with  a  piece 
of  ribbon,  and  put  it  in  his  pocket  with  his  watch.  Then  she 
dried  her  eyes  with  her  handkerchief,  and  pushed  it  in 
his  breast. 

The  night  went  on,  and  nothing  was  to  be  heard  but  the 
chiming  of  clocks  outside.  At  length  through  the  silence  there 
came  a  muffled  rumble  from  the  streets. 

"  You  must  go  now,"  she  said,  and  when  the  next  flash 
came  round  she  looked  up  at  him  with  a  steadfast  gaze, 
as  if  trying  to  gather  into  her  eyes  the  last  memories  of  his 
face. 

"  Adieu !  " 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  329 

"  Not  yet." 

"  It  is  still  dark,  but  the  streets  are  patrolled  and  every 
gate  is  closed,  and  how  are  you  to  escape  .  .  ." 

"  If  the  soldiers  had  wished  to  take  me  they  could  have  done 
so  a  hundred  times." 

"  But  the  city  is  stirring.    Be  careful  for  my  sake.  Adieu !  " 

"  Roma,"  said  Rossi,  "  if  I  do  not  take  you  with  me  it  is 
partly  because  I  want  your  help  in  Rome." 

Roma  was  seized  with  sudden  palpitation. 

"  Think  of  "the  poor  people  I  leave  behind  me  in  poverty 
and  in  prison.  Think  of  Elena  when  she  awakes  in  the  morn- 
ing, alone  with  her  terrible  grief.  Some  one  should  be  here  to 
represent  me  for  a  time  at  all  events — to  take  the  messages 
I  must  send,  the  instructions  I  will  have  to  give.  It  will  be  a 
dangerous  task,  Roma,  a  task  that  can  only  be  undertaken  by 
some  one  who  loves  me,  some  one  who  .  .  ." 

"  That  is  enough.  Tell  me  what  I  can  do,"  she  said,  and 
she  whispered  to  herself,  ''  I  can  wait." 

They  arranged  a  channel  of  correspondence,  and  then  Roma 
began  her  adieux  afresh. 

"  Roma,"  said  Rossi  again,  "  since  I  must  go  away  before 
our  civil  marriage  can  be  celebrated,  is  it  not  best  that  our 
spiritual  one  should  have  the  authority  and  blessing  of  the 
Church?" 

Roma  looked  at  him  and  trembled. 

"  When  I  am  gone  God  knows  what  may  happen.  The 
Baron  may  be  a  free  man  any  day,  and  he  may  put  pressure  on 
you  to  marry  him.  In  that  case  it  will  be  strength  and  courage 
to  you  to  know  that  in  God's  eyes  you  are  married  already.  It 
will  be  happiness  and  comfort  to  me,  too,  when  I  am  far  away 
from  you,  and  alone." 

"  But  it  is  impossible." 

"  JiTot  so.  A  declaration  before  a  parish  priest  is  all  that 
is  necessary.  *  Father,  this  is  rny  wife.'  '  This  is  my  husband.' 
That  is  enough.  It  will  have  no  value  in  the  eye  of  the  law, 
but  it  will  be  a  religious  marriage  for  all  that." 

"  There  is  no  time.    You  cannot  wait  .  .  ." 

"  Hush !  "  The  clocks  were  striking  three.  "  At  three 
o'clock  there  is  mass  at  St.  Andrea  delle  Fratte.  That  is  your 
parish  church,  Roma,  The  priest  and  his  acolyte  are  the  only 
witnesses  we  require." 

"  If  you  think  .  .  .  that  is  to  say  ...  if  it  will  make  you 
happy,  and  be  a  strength  to  me  also.  .  .  ." 
22 


330  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  Kun  for  your  cloak  and  hat,  dearest — in  ten  minutes  it 
will  be  done." 

"  But  think  again."  She  was  breathing  audibly.  "  Who 
knows  what  may  happen  before  your  return?  Will  you  never 
repent  ? " 

"^ever!" 

"  But  .  .  .  but  there  is  something  .  .  .  something  I  ought 
to  tell  you — something  painful.    It  is  about  the  past." 

"  The  past  is  passed.    Let  us  think  of  the  future." 

"  Yon  do  not  wish  to  hear  it  ? " 

"  If  it  is  painful  to  you — no !  " 

"  Will  nothing  and  nobody  divide  us  ?  " 

"  Nothing  and  nobody  in  the  world." 

She  gulped  down  another  choking  sob  and  threw  both  arms 
about  his  neck. 

"  Take  me  then.    I  am  your  wife  before  God  and  man." 


XIII 

It  was  still  dark  overhead  and  the  streets  with  their  thin 
covering  of  snow  were  as  silent  as  a  catacomb.  Through  the 
door  of  the  church,  when  the  leather  covering  was  lifted,  there 
came  the  yellow  light  of  the  candles  burning  on  the  altar.  The 
priest  in  his  gold  vestments  stood  with  his  face  to  the  glisten- 
ing shrine  and  his  acolyte  knelt  beside  him.  There  was  only 
one  worshipper,  an  old  woman  who  was  kneeling  before  a  chair 
in  the  gloom  by  a  side  chapel.  The  tinkle  of  the  acolyte's  bell, 
and  the  faint  murmur  of  the  priest's  voice,  were  the  only  sounds 
that  broke  the  stillness. 

Rossi  and  Roma  stepped  up  on  tiptoe,  and  as  the  Father 
finished  his  mass  and  turned  to  go  they  made  their  declaration. 
The  old  man  was  startled  and  disturbed,  but  the  priest  commits 
no  crime  who  listens  to  the  voice  of  conscience,  and  he  took 
their  names  and  gave  them  his  blessing.  They  parted  at  the 
church  door. 

"  You  will  write  when  you  cross  the  frontier  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  And  you  will  be  faithful  to  all  your  promises  ? " 

"  Yes." 

"  Adieu,  then,  until  we  meet  again !  " 

"  If  I  am  long  away  from  you,  Roma  .  .  ." 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  331 

"  You  cannot  be  long  away.  You  will  be  with  me  every  day 
and  always." 

She  was  assuming  a  lively  tone  to  keep  up  his  courage,  but 
there  was  a  dry  glitter  in  her  eyes  and  a  tremor  in  her  voice. 

"  When  I  go  to  bed  at  night  I  shall  be  thinking  of  you,  when 
I  am  asleep  I  shall  be  dreaming  of  you,  and  when  I  awake  in  the 
morning  I  shall  be  thinking  of  you  again." 

He  took  her  full,  round,  lovely  form  in  his  arms  for  a  last 
embrace.  "  If  the  result  of  this  night's  work  is  that  I  am  ar- 
rested, and  brought  back  and  imprisoned  .  .  ." 

"  I  can  wait  for  you,"  she  said. 

"  If  I  am  banished  for  life  ..." 

"  I  can  follow  you." 

"  If  the  worst  comes  to  the  worst,  and  one  way  or  another 
death  itself  should  be  the  fate  that  falls  to  me  .  .  ." 

"  I  can  follow  you  there,  too." 

"  If  we  meet  again  we  can  laugh  at  all  this,  Roma." 

"  Yes,  we  can  laugh  at  all  this,"  she  faltered. 

"  If  not  .  .  .  Adieu !  " 

"Adieu!" 

She  disengaged  her  clinging  arms,  with  one  last  caress; 
there  was  an  instant  of  unconsciousness,  and  when  she  recov- 
ered herself,  he  was  gone. 

At  the  next  moment  there  came  through  the  darkness  the 
measured  tramp,  tramp,  tramp  of  the  patrol.  With  a  quivering 
heart,  Eoma  stood  and  listened.  There  was  a  slight  movement 
among  the  soldiers,  a  scarcely  perceptible  pause,  and  then  the 
tramp,  tramp,  tramp  as  before.  Rossi  looked  back  as  he  turned 
the  corner,  and  saw  Roma,  in  her  light  cloak,  gliding  across 
the  silent  street  like  a  ghost. 

Three  or  four  hundred  yards  inside  the  gate  of  St.  John 
Lateran,  in  one  of  the  half -finished  tenement  houses  on  the  out- 
skirts of  Rome,  there  is  a  cellar  used  as  a  resting-place  and 
eating-house  by  the  carriers  from  the  country  who  bring  wine 
into  the  city.  This  cellar  was  the  only  place  that  seemed  to  be 
awake  when  Rossi  walked  towards  the  city  walls.  The  door  was 
open,  and  the  light  of  a  wood  fire  burning  on  an  open  hearth, 
like  the  hearth  of  a  smithy,  came  out  to  him  as  he  passed  along 
the  street.  He  stepped  up  and  looked  do^vn.  Some  eight  or 
nine  men,  in  the  rude  dress  of  wine-carriers,  with  loose  shirts 
and  white  waistbands,  the  ends  of  their  trousers  tucked  into 
their  top-boots,  and  their  red-lined  overcoats  scattered  about 
them,  lay  dozing  or  talking  on  the  floor.     They  had  been  kept 


332  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

in  Rome  overnight  by  the  closing  of  the  gate,  and  were  waiting 
for  it  to  be  opened  in  the  morning. 

Without  a  moment's  hesitation  David  Rossi  stepped  down 
and  spoke  to  the  men. 

"  Gentlemen,"  he  said,  "  you  know  me.  I  am  Rossi.  The 
police  have  orders  to  arrest  me.  Will  you  help  me  to  get  out 
of  Rome?" 

"  What's  that  ? "  shouted  a  drowsy  voice  from  the  smoky 
shadows  of  the  cellar. 

"  It's  the  Honourable  Rossi,"  said  a  lad  who  had  shambled 
up.  •*  The  oysters  are  after  him,  and  will  we  help  him  to 
escape." 

"  Will  we  ?  It's  not  will  we,  it's  can  we.  Honourable,"  said 
a  thick-set  man,  who  lifted  his  head  from  an  upturned  horse- 
saddle. 

In  a  moment  the  men  were  all  on  their  feet,  asking  questions 
and  discussing  chances.  The  gate  was  to  be  opened  at  six,  and 
the  first  train  north  was  to  go  out  at  half-past  nine.  But 
the  difiiculty  was  that  everybody  in  Rome  knew  Rossi.  Even 
if  he  got  through  the  gate,  he  could  not  get  on  to  the  train 
within  ten  miles  of  the  city  without  the  certainty  of  recog- 
nition. 

"  I  have  it !  "  said  the  thick-set  man  with  the  drowsy  voice. 
"  There's  young  Carlo.  He  got  a  scratch  in  the  leg  last  night 
from  one  of  the  wet  nurses  of  the  Government,  and  he'll  have 
to  lie  upstairs  for  a  week  at  least.  Why  can't  he  lend  his 
clothes  to  the  Honourable?  And  why  can't  the  Honourable 
drive  his  cart  back  to  Monte  Rotondo,  and  then  go  where  he 
likes  when  he  gets  there  ?  " 

"  That  will  do,"  said  Rossi,  and  so  it  was  settled. 

A  few  minutes  before  six  o'clock,  a  line  of  wine-carts  drove 
up  to  the  gate  of  St.  John  Lateran. 

In  the  little  hooded  seats,  each  like  the  arc  of  a  moon,  sat  the 
drivers  in  their  red-lined  overcoats,  their  white  waistband,  blue 
trousers  and  top-boots,  with  their  empty  barrels  built  up  be- 
hind them,  and  their  little  watch-dogs  barking  by  their  sides. 

The  lad  drove  first,  the  thick-set  man  with  the  drowsy  voice 
came  next,  and  then  came  David  Rossi. 

The  sky  was  still  dark  and  leaden-hued,  but  a  smell  of  dawn 
was  in  the  air,  and  the  street  vendors  were  beginning  to  cry. 

Half  a  dozen  officers  in  uniform  stood  by  the  open  gate, 
some  with  steel  rods  in  their  hands,  others  with  rifles  and 
bayonets.    One  of  the  officers  held  an  open  note-book  and  by  a 


THE  PRIME  MINISTER  333 

light  from  the  window  of  the  custom-house  lodge  he  took  the 
names  of  all  who  left  the  city. 

This  was  an  unusual  precaution  and  the  carriers  were  not 
prepared  for  it. 

When  Rossi  was  asked  for  his  name  he  hesitated. 

"  Your  name — don't  you  hear  me  ?  "  shouted  the  officer. 

The  stiff-set  man  with  the  drowsy  voice  came  to  Rossi's 
rescue.  "  Carlo !  "  he  called  back,  "  Carlo  Conti,  the  gentleman 
is  asking  you  for  your  name."  And  then  turning  to  the  of- 
ficer, he  touched  his  ear  and  said :  "  Deaf,  sir,"  and  lurched 
his  finger  over  his  shoulder. 

"  Go  on,"  said  the  officer,  and  Rossi  passed  through. 

The  day  dawned,  and  as  Rossi  drove  in  the  line  of  tinkling 
wine-carts,  he  looked  back  on  Rome.  The  city  was  entirely  cov- 
ered with  snow.  In  the  morning  mist  which  enveloped  the  hills 
around,  it  lay  like  a  dead  thing  under  a  shroud.  Domes,  spires, 
cupolas,  campanili,  the  broad  curves  of  the  Coliseum,  the  trees 
of  the  Pincio,  and  the  undulating  line  of  the  Palatine,  all 
were  white  with  a  deathly  whiteness.  The  bell  of  the  Passion- 
ist  Retreat  began  to  ring,  and  then  in  single  strokes,  like  a 
knell  rung  in  a  sepulchre,  came  the  reverberating  bell  of 
St.  Peter's. 

It  was  a  bitter  hour  for  Rossi.  He  gazed  back  on  Rome 
with  dim  eyes  and  an  aching  heart.  lie  was  leaving  it  in  sad- 
ness, in  sorrow,  almost  in  shame.  The  people  who  had  believed 
in  him  and  followed  him,  the  friends  who  had  loved  him  and 
stood  by  him — where  were  they?  Dead,  in  disgrace,  or  in 
prison.  And  he  was  flying  away !  He  felt  guilty  and  ashamed, 
and  had  half  an  impulse  to  turn  back.  But  something  outside 
himself  restrained  him,  and  he  continued  to  go  on.  "  Neverthe- 
less, not  my  will  but  Thine  be  done !  " 

The  sun  rose  and  the  lad  who  was  driving  the  first  of  the 
wine-carts  began  to  sing.  Rossi  looked  back  at  the  city  a  sec- 
ond time,  and  now  the  domes  and  cupolas  were  glistening  with 
gleams  of  sunlight  on  the  snow.  The  thought  of  last  night  was 
bitterest  of  all  now,  when  the  sweet  morning  had  fully  dawned. 
But  hope  came  with  the  memory  of  the  past. 

Rome,  the  city  of  the  Emperors,  the  city  of  the  Popes,  the 
city  of  the  Kings,  would  be  the  city  of  the  peoples  after  all! 
Rome,  from  which  the  word  of  division  had  first  gone  forth, 
when  man  divided  humanity  into  two  races,  the  race  of  the 
rich  and  the  race  of  the  poor,  the  race  of  the  bond  and  the  race 
of  the  free,  the  race  of  the  friend  and  the  race  of  the  foe,  was 


334  'I'HE  ETERNAL  CITY  •     ,         -     , 

the  same  Rome  from  which  the  word  of  Unity  would  yet  go  out 
to  tell  the  world  that  it  was  one. 

It  was  God's  decree,  and  no  one  could  resist  it.  It  was  the 
rising  tide  on  the  seashore,  and  none  could  keep  it  back.  Popes, 
who  ruled  in  the  name  of  infallibility  and  must  therefore  be 
despots — let  who  will  deceive  themselves — Kings  who  reigned 
in  the  name  of  liberty  and  suffered  their  servants  to  withdraw 
the  rights  which  they  had  no  title  from  God  to  grant,  all,  all 
would  disappear! 

When  Rossi  looked  back  on  Rome  again  the  sun  had  melted 
the  thin  snow  and  the  city  lay  basking  under  a  cloudless  sky. 
By  this  time  the  wine-carts  had  reached  the  top  of  a  hill  on 
the  Campagna,  the  lad  who  was  driving  the  first  of  them  was 
making  the  aqueducts  ring  with  his  singing,  and  the  other 
drivers  were  asleep. 

Rossi  took  his  last  look  back  on  the  city  of  his  soul.  She 
held  everything  that  was  dear  to  him.  Would  he  ever  see  her 
again  ?    Roma  !    Roma !    His  two  Romas ! 

Tears  filled  his  eyes  and  blotted  out  everything.  The  wine- 
carts  dipped  over  the  hill,  and  the  horses  tinkled  along. 

When  the  train  which  left  Rome  for  Florence  and  Milan  at 
9.30  in  the  morning  arrived  at  the  country  station  of  Monte 
Rotondo,  eighteen  miles  out,  a  man  in  top-boots,  blue  trousers, 
a  white  waistband  and  a  red-lined  overcoat  got  into  the  peo- 
ple's compartment.  The  train  was  crowded  with  foreigners 
who  were  flying  from  the  risks  of  insurrection,  and  even  the 
third-class  carriages  were  filled  with  well-dressed  strangers. 
They  were  talking  bitterly  of  their  experiences  the  night  be- 
fore. Most  of  them  had  been  compelled  to  barricade  their  bed- 
room doors  at  the  hotels,  and  some  had  even  passed  the  night 
at  the  railway  station. 

"  It  all  comes  of  letting  men  like  this  Rossi  go  at  large," 
said  a  young  Englishman  with  the  voice  of  a  pea-hen.  "  For 
my  part  I  would  put  all  these  anarchists  on  an  uninhabited 
island  and  leave  them  to  fight  it  out  among  themselves." 

"  Say,  Rossi  isn't  an  anarchist,"  said  a  man  with  an  Ameri- 
can intonation. 

"What  is  he?" 

"  A  dreamer  of  dreams." 

"  Bad  dreams  then,"  said  the  voice  of  the  pea-hen,  and 
there  was  general  laughter. 


PAET  SIX 

THE  ROMAN  OF  ROME 


Roma  awoke  next  morning  with  a  feeling  of  joy.  The  dan- 
gers of  last  night  were  over  and  David  Rossi  had  escaped. 
Where  would  he  be  by  this  time  ?  She  looked  at  her  little  round 
watch  and  reckoned  the  hours  that  had  passed  against  the  speed 
of  the  train. 

But  suddenly  the  unspeakable  elation  of  victory  gave  place 
to  a  poignant  memory.  She  remembered  what  the  Baron  had 
said  on  leaving  her :  "  I  will  continue  to  think  of  you  as  my 
wife  according  to  the  law  of  Nature,  and  of  the  man  who  has 
come  between  us  as  your  lover."  This  brought  back  a  sense  of 
infamy  and  made  her  feverish  and  afraid. 

So  far  as  she  was  herself  concerned  things  were  in  a  more 
dangerous  state  than  before.  She  had  married  David  Rossi  and 
yet  the  secret  of  her  soul  he  did  not  know.  It  was  true  he  would 
not  listen  when  she  tried  to  tell  him.  Nevertheless  she  must 
confess  everything.  It  was  the  only  way.  But  when?  And 
how? 

Natalina  came  with  the  tea  and  the  morning  newspaper. 
The  maid's  tongue  went  faster  than  her  hands  as  she  rattled 
on  about  the  terrors  of  the  night  and  the  news  of  the  morning. 
Meantime  Roma  glanced  eagerly  over  the  columns  of  the  paper 
for  its  references  to  Rossi.  He  was  gone.  The  authorities  were 
unable  to  say  what  had  become  of  him. 

With  boundless  relief  Roma  turned  to  the  other  items  of 
intelligence.  The  journal  was  the  organ  of  the  Government 
and  it  contained  an  extract  from  the  Official  Gazette,  and  the 
text  of  a  proclamation  by  the  Prefect.  The  first  announced 
that  the  riot  was  at  an  end  and  Rome  was  quiet;  the  second 
notified  the  public  that  by  royal  decree  the  city  was  declared 
to  be  in  a  state  of  siege,  and  that  the  King  had  nominated  a 
Royal  Commissioner  with  full  powers. 

335 


336  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

Besides  this  news  there  was  a  general  account  of  the  insur- 
rection. The  ringleaders  had  been  anarchists,  socialists  and 
professed  atheists,  determined  on  the  destruction  of  both 
throne  and  altar  by  any  means,  however  horrible.  Their  vic- 
tims had  been  drawn,  without  seeing  where  they  were  going, 
into  a  vortex  of  disorder,  and  the  soldiers  had  defended  society 
and  the  law.  Happily  the  casualties  were  few.  The  only  fatal 
incident  had  been  the  death  of  a  child,  seven  years  of  age,  the 
son  of  a  workman.  The  people  of  Rome  had  to  congratulate 
themselves  on  the  promptness  of  a  government  which  had  rein- 
stated authority  with  so  small  a  loss  of  blood. 

Roma  remembered  what  Rossi  had  said  about  Elena — 
"  think  of  Elena  when  she  awakes  in  the  morning,  alone  with 
her  terrible  grief  " — and  putting  on  a  plain  dark  cloth  dress  she 
set  oif  for  the  Piazza  Navona. 

It  was  eleven  o'clock  and  the  sun  was  shining  on  the  melt- 
ing snow.  Rome  was  like  a  dead  city.  The  breath  of  revolu- 
tion had  passed  over  it.  Broken  tiles  lay  on  the  pavement  of 
the  slushy  streets,  and  here  and  there  were  the  remains  of 
abandoned  barricades.  The  shops,  which  are  the  eyes  of  a  city, 
were  nearly  all  closed  and  asleep.  Houses  which  could  claim 
foreign  protection  had  hung  out  their  national  flags,  and  sol- 
diers and  police  with  a  look  of  fatigue  were  marching  through 
every  thoroughfare. 

At  a  flower-shop,  which  was  opened  to  her  knock,  Roma 
bought  a  wreath  of  white  chrysanthemums.  A  group  of  men 
and  women  stood  at  the  door  in  the  Piazza  Navona  and  she  re- 
ceived their  kisses  on  her  hands.  The  Garibaldian  followed  her 
up  the  stairs,  and  his  old  wife,  who  stood  at  the  top,  called  her 
"  Little  Sister,"  and  then  burst  into  tears. 

Roma  was  much  affected  on  entering  the  house.  Elena  saw 
her  coming  and  by  right  of  the  dignity  which  the  company 
of  death  gives  to  the  humblest  of  the  aflflicted,  she  rose  up  and 
kissed  her  on  the  cheek.  Then  the  stricken  mother  took  Roma's 
hand  and  led  her  into  the  dining  room. 

The  boy  lay  on  the  couch,  just  where  Roma  had  first  seen 
him,  when  David  Rossi  was  lifting  him  up  asleep.  He  might 
have  been  asleep  now,  so  peaceful  was  his  expression  under  the 
mysterious  seal  of  death.  The  blinds  were  drawn,  and  the 
sun  came  through  them  with  a  yellow  light.  Four  candles  were 
burning  on  chairs  at  the  head  and  two  at  the  feet.  The  little 
body  was  still  dressed  in  the  gay  clothes  of  the  festival,  and  the 
cocked  hat  and  the  gilt-headed  mace  lay  beside  it.     But  the 


THE  ROMAN  OF   ROME  337 

little  chubby  hands  were  clasped  over  a  tiny  crucifix,  and  the 
hair  of  the  little  shock  head  was  brushed  smooth  and  flat. 

"  There  he  is,"  said  Elena,  in  a  cracked  voice,  and  she  went 
down  on  her  knees  between  the  candles. 

Roma,  who  could  not  speak,  put  the  wreath  of  chrysanthe- 
mums on  the  brave  little  breast,  and  knelt  by  the  mother's  side. 
At  that  they  all  broke  down  together.  The  old  woman  was 
the  first  to  speak. 

"  Madonna  Santa !  It's  hard,  but  let  the  Blessed  Virgin 
do  as  she  likes.  I  washed  him  myself.  I  wouldn't  let  anybody 
else  touch  him.  His  sweet  little  body  was  just  as  white  as  a  fish, 
bless  him.  And  knowing  how  proud  he  was  of  the  clothes  you 
gave  him  .  .  ." 

"  Don't,  mamma,  don't,  don't !  "  cried  Elena. 

And  then  Elena  in  her  turn  began  to  talk  of  the  boy,  his 
little  ways,  his  disposition,  his  playthings,  his  prattle,  his  am- 
bitions, and  what  he  said  he  would  do  for  mamma  when  he  grew 
up  to  be  a  man  and  went  to  live  at  Donna  Roma's. 

"  And  now  .  .  .  there  he  is !  "  she  said  in  her  cracked  voice 
and  again  her  tears  began  to  flow. 

"  He's  smiling,  isn't  he  ?  Isn't  he  smiling  ?  Perhaps  he 
didn't  feel  anything.  .  .  .  Yes?  Do  you  think  perhaps  he 
didn't  even  know  ?  Oh,  how  I  wish  I  had  his  portrait !  I'll  want 
his  portrait  for  his  grave.  If  I  had  only  thought  of  it  in  time ! 
It  was  his  birthday  and  he  was  up  with  the  sun  in  the  morning 
to  put  on  his  new  suit.    And  now  .  .  .  there  he  is !  " 

The  old  Garibaldi  an  wiped  his  rheumy  eyes  and  began  to 
talk  of  David  Rossi.  He  was  as  fond  of  Joseph  as  if  the  boy 
had  been  his  own  son.  But  what  had  become  of  the  Honour- 
able ?  Before  daybreak  the  police  had  made  a  domiciliary  per- 
quisition in  the  apartment,  carried  off  his  papers  and  sealed 
up  his  rooms. 

"  Have  no  fear  for  him,"  said  Roma,  and  then  she  asked 
about  Bruno.  All  they  knew  was  that  Bruno  had  been  arrested 
and  locked  up  in  the  prison  called  Regina  Coeli. 

"  Poor  Bruno !  He'll  be  dying  to  know  what  is  happening 
here,"  said  Elena. 

"  I'll  see  him,"  said  Roma. 

It  was  well  she  had  come  early.  In  the  stupefaction  of  their 
sorrow  the  three  poor  souls  were  like  helpless  children  and  had 
done  nothing.  Roma  sent  the  Garibaldian  to  the  sanitary  office 
for  the  doctor,  who  was  to  verify  the  death,  to  the  office  of 
health  to  register  it,  and  to  the  Municipal  office  to  arrange  for 


338  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

the  funeral.  It  was  to  be  a  funeral  of  the  third  category,  with 
a  funeral  car  of  two  horses  and  a  coach  with  liveried  coach- 
men. The  grave  was  to  be  one  of  the  little  vaults,  the  Fomelli, 
set  apart  for  children.  The  priest  was  to  be  instructed  to  buy 
many  candles  and  order  several  Frati.  The  expense  would  be 
great,  but  Roma  undertook  to  bear  it,  and  when  she  left  the 
house  the  old  people  kissed  her  hands  again  and  loaded  her  with 
blessings. 

II 

The  Roman  prison  with  the  extraordinary  name,  "  The 
Queen  of  Heaven,"  is  a  vast  yellow  building  on  the  Trastevere 
side  of  the  river.  Behind  it  rises  the  Janiculum,  in  front  of  it 
runs  the  Tiber,  and  on  both  sides  of  it  are  narrow  lanes  cut  off 
by  high  walls.  There  is  a  large  entrance  hall  which  is  sepa- 
rated from  the  penitentiary  by  a  flight  of  steps  and  an  iron 
gate.  Four  Carabineers  are  stationed  at  the  outer  door,  the 
lanes  are  patrolled  by  infantry  and  the  hill  is  also  guarded. 

On  the  morning  after  the  insurrection  a  great  many  per- 
sons had  gathered  at  the  entrance  of  this  prison.  Old  men,  who 
were  lame  or  sick  or  nearly  blind,  stood  by  a  dead  wall  which 
divides  the  street  from  the  Tiber,  and  looked  on  with  dazed  and 
vacant  eyes.  Younger  men  nearer  the  entrance  read  the  proc- 
lamations posted  up  on  the  pilasters.  One  of  these  was  the 
proclamation  of  the  Prefect  announcing  the  state  of  siege, 
another  was  the  proclamation  of  the  Royal  Commissioner  call- 
ing on  citizens  to  consign  all  the  arms  in  their  possession  to 
the  Chief  of  Police  under  pain  of  imprisonment. 

In  the  entrance  hall  there  was  a  crowd  of  women,  each  car- 
rying a  basket  or  a  bundle  in  a  handkerchief.  They  were  young 
and  old,  dressed  variously  as  if  from  different  provinces,  but 
nearly  all  poor,  untidy  and  unkempt.  Through  them,  among 
them  and  above  them  moved  the  white  and  red  plumes  of  the 
soldiers  on  guard,  and  at  frequent  intervals  the  clamour  of 
their  mournful  tongues  was  silenced  by  the  loud  command  of 
a  Carabineer. 

"  It  is  a  great  punishment  God  has  sent  us,"  said  the  women 
in  the  entrance  hall,  and  the  men  outside  ground  their  teeth 
and  muttered,  "  There'll  be  a  shower  of  crosses  after  this." 

"Silence!" 

"  Only  bread  and  water  for  breakfast,  a  plate  of  soup  for 
dinner  and  nothing  after  that  until  morning,"  said  the  women. 


THE  ROMAN  OF  ROME  339 

And  the  men  muttered  under  their  breath,  "  He's  the  hard  bone 
of  Italy,  curse  him !    But  wait,  only  wait !  " 

"  Silence !  " 

"I've  brought  a  basket  full  of  the  grace  of  God,  but  the 
maccaroni  is  getting  cold  and  they  don't  open  the  door." 

"  Silence !  " 

The  iron  gate  was  opened,  and  an  oificer,  two  soldiers  and 
a  warder  came  out  to  take  the  food  which  the  women  had 
brought  for  their  relatives  imprisoned  within.  Then  there 
was  a  terrific  tumult.  "  Mr.  Officer,  please !  "  "  Please,  Mr. 
Officer !  "  "  Be  kind  to  Giuseppe,  and  the  Saints  bless  you !  " 
"  My  turn  next !  "  "  No,  mine !  "  "  Don't  push !  "  "  You're 
pushing  yourself !  "  "  You're  knocking  the  basket  out  of  my 
hands !  "    "  Get  away !  "    "  You  cat !    You  .  .  ." 

"  Silence !  Silence !  Silence !  "  cried  the  officer,  shouting 
the  women  down,  and  meantime  the  men  in  the  street  outside 
curled  their  lips  and  tried  to  laugh. 

Into  this  wild  scene,  full  of  the  acrid  exhalations  of  human 
breath,  and  the  nauseating  odour  of  unclean  bodies,  moved, 
nevertheless,  by  the  finger  of  God  himself,  the  cab  which 
brought  Roma  to  see  Bruno  discharged  her  at  the  prison  door. 

The  officer  on  the  steps  saw  her  over  the  heads  of  the  women 
with  their  outstretched  arms,  and  judging  from  her  appear- 
ance that  she  came  on  other  business  he  called  to  a  Carabineer 
to  attend  to  her. 

"  I  wish  to  see  the  Director,"  said  Roma. 

"  Certainly,  Excellency,"  said  the  Carabineer,  and  with 
a  salute  he  led  the  way  by  a  side  door  to  the  offices  on  the  floor 
above. 

The  Governor  of  Regina  Coeli  was  a  middle-aged  man  with 
a  kindly  face,  but  under  the  new  order  he  could  do  nothing. 

"  Everything  relating  to  the  political  prisoners  is  in  the 
hands  of  the  Royal  Commissioner,"  he  said. 

"  Where  can  I  see  him,  Cavaliere  ?  " 

"  He  is  with  the  Minister  of  War  to-day,  arranging  for  the 
Military  Tribunals,  but  perhaps  to-morrow  at  his  office  in  the 
Castle  of  St.  Angelo  .  .  ." 

"  Thanks !  Meantime  can  I  send  a  message  into  the 
prison  ? " 

"  Yes." 

"  And  may  I  pay  for  a  separate  cell  for  a  prisoner,  with 
food  and  light  if  necessary  ? " 

"  Undoubtedly." 


340  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

Roma  undertook  the  expense  of  these  privileges  and  then 
scribbled  a  note  to  Bruno : 

"  Dear  Friend, — Don't  lose  heart !  Your  dear  ones  shall  be 
cared  for  and  comforted.  lie  whom  you  love  is  safe,  and  your 
darling  is  in  heaven.    Sleep  well !    These  days  will  pass. — R.  V." 

In  Italy  a  funeral  follows  hard  upon  a  death.  By  order  of 
the  authorities  little  Joseph  was  buried  the  same  day.  It  was 
near  the  hour  of  Ave  Maria  when  Roma  had  returned  to  the 
Piazza  Navona.  The  municipal  undertaker  had  come  and  the 
little  body  lay  in  a  stained  deal  coffin  bearing  a  small  metal 
shield,  inscribed,  "  Joseph  Mazzini  Bruno,  Aged  seven  years, 
Died  February  1st." 

While  the  bells  of  Rome  were  ringing,  the  funeral  ear  and 
the  carriage  drove  up  to  the  door.  The  priest  came  upstairs 
in  his  white  surplice  and  black  stole.  Behind  him  were  his 
assistants  carrying  the  cross  and  the  aspersorium.  Two  brown 
friars  with  lighted  candles  had  entered  in  front  of  them. 

Everyone  knelt.  The  priest  sprinkled  the  coffin  with  holy 
water  and  intoned  the  Psalm,  "  Out  of  the  depths  have  I  cried 
unto  Thee.    Hear  thou  my  voice,  0  Lord !  " 

Elena  was  on  her  knees  by  the  coffin,  and  Roma  stood  be- 
side her,  holding  tightly  her  trembling  hands.  The  old  people 
knelt  behind  the  priest,  and  the  doorway  and  landing  were  filled 
with  a  throng  of  neighbours. 

The  buriers  lifted  up  the  little  bier,  the  friars  with  the 
lighted  candles  took  their  places  behind  it,  and  the  priest  led 
the  way  downstairs,  intoning  the  antiphon,  "  The  humbled 
bones  shall _exult  unto  the  Lord." 

Elena  and  Roma  remained  where  they  were,  while  the  pro- 
cession passed  out  of  the  house.  The  voices  of  the  priest  and  of 
his  assistants  came  up  to  them  in  a  dying  rumble. 

A  moment  later  the  staircase  was  silent,  and  the  house  was 
empty.  Then  the  desolation  of  Elena's  heart  overcame  her  and 
she  burst  into  sobs.  After  a  while  she  became  calmer  and  Roma 
took  her  upstairs  to  her  own  apartment.  From  there  they 
could  look  down  on  the  piazza  and  see  the  procession  as  it 
passed  to  the  church. 

It  was  a  grand  funeral,  such  as  had  rarely  been  seen  in  that 
quarter.  First,  the  funeral  car  which  was  brilliantly  embel- 
lished with  the  wreath  of  white  chrysanthemums  hanging  from 
the  cross,  then  the  coach  with  liveried  coachmen,  then  the  friars 


THE   ROMAN  OF   ROME  341 

with  lighted  candles,  and  last  of  all  the  crowd  of  neighbours 
with  bare  heads  and  faces  lit  with  awe.  Elena  was  comforted 
by  its  grandeur  and  even  dried  her  eyes  and  smiled. 

But  when  the  procession  was  gone  her  desolation  again  over- 
came her,  and  she  sank  on  her  knees  before  a  little  painted  fig- 
ure of  the  Madonna  which  stood  on  the  night  table  by  the  bed. 

"  Oh,  Holy  Virgin,"  she  prayed,  "  why  didst  thou  extin- 
guish the  life  of  my  little  one?  Thou  art  so  lovely,  thou  art 
so  gracious,  how  couldst  thou  find  it  in  thy  heart  to  take  him 
from  me  ?  Take  me  also,  oh.  Blessed  Virgin !  My  treasure  is 
gone !  My  joy  is  gone !  My  husband  is  gone  too !  What  have 
I  to  live  for  now?  Hail  Mary,  full  of  grace,  the  Lord  is  with 
thee.  .  .  .  Amen !  " 

Unable  to  see  through  the  mist  that  dimmed  her  eyes,  Roma 
turned  softly  and  stole  out  of  the  house.  That  night  she 
wrote  the  first  part  of  a  letter  to  David  Rossi : 

"  David — my  David !  It  is  early  days  to  call  you  by  a 
dearer  name,  but  the  sweet  word  is  on  the  tip  of  my  pen,  and 
I  can  hardly  help  myself  from  scribbling  it.  You  wished  me 
to  tell  you  what  is  happening  in  Rome,  and  here  I  am  begin- 
ning to  write  already,  though  when  and  how  and  where  this 
letter  is  to  reach  you,  I  must  leave  it  to  Fate  and  to  yourself 
to  determine.  Fancy !  Only  eighteen  hours  since  we  parted ! 
It  seems  inconceivable !    I  feel  as  if  I  had  lived  a  lifetime. 

"  Do  you  know,  I  did  not  go  to  bed  when  you  left  me.  I 
had  so  many  things  to  think  about.  And,  tired  as  I  was,  I  slept 
little,  and  was  up  early.  The  morning  dawned  beautifully.  It 
was  perfectly  tragic.  So  bright  and  sunny  after  that  night  of 
slaughter,  ^o  rattle  of  cars,  no  tinkle  of  trams,  no  calls  of 
the  water  carriers  and  of  the  pedlars  in  the  streets.  It  was 
for  all  the  world  like  that  awful  quiet  of  the  sea  the  morning 
after  a  tempest,  with  the  sun  on  its  placid  surface  and  not  a 
hint  of  the  wrecks  beneath. 

"  I  remembered  what  you  said  about  Elena  and  went  down 
to  see  her.  The  poor  girl  has  just  parted  with  her  dead  child. 
She  did  it  with  a  brave  heart,  God  pity  her,  taking  comfort  in 
the  Blessed  Virgin,  as  the  mother  in  heaven  who  knows  all  our 
sorrows  and  asks  God  to  heal  them.  Ah,  what  a  sweet  thing  it 
must  be  to  believe  that.    Do  you  believe  it  ?  " 

Here  she  wanted  to  say  something  about  her  secret.  She 
tried  to  but  she  could  not  do  it. 


342  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

"  I  couldn't  see  Bruno  to-day,  but  I  hope  to  do  so  to-mor- 
row, and  meantime  I  have  ordered  food  to  be  supplied  to  him. 
If  I  could  only  do  something  to  some  purpose !  But  five  hun- 
dred of  your  friends  are  in  Regina  Coeli,  and  my  poor  little 
efforts  are  a  drop  of  water  in  a  mighty  ocean. 

"  Rome  is  a  deserted  city  to-day,  and  but  for  the  soldiers 
v.'ho  are  everywhere  it  would  look  like  a  dead  one.  The  steps 
of  the  Piazza  di  Spagna  are  empty,  not  a  model  is  to  be  seen, 
not  a  flower  is  to  be  bought,  and  the  fountain  is  bubbling  in 
silence.  After  sunset  a  certain  shiver  passes  over  the  world, 
and  after  an  insurrection  something  of  the  same  kind  seems 
to  pass  over  a  city.  The  churches  and  the  hospitals  are  the  only 
places  open,  and  the  doctors  and  their  messengers  are  the  only 
people  moving  about. 

"  Just  one  of  the  newspapers  has  been  published  to-day  and 
it  is  full  of  proclamations.  Everybody  is  to  be  indoors  by  nine 
o'clock,  and  the  cafes  are  to  be  closed  at  eight.  Arms  are  to 
be  consigned  at  the  Questura,  and  meetings  of  more  than  four 
persons  are  strictly  forbidden.  Rewards  of  pardon  are  offered 
to  all  rioters  who  will  inform  on  the  ringleaders  of  the  insur- 
rection, and  of  money  to  all  citizens  who  will  denounce  the  con- 
spirators. The  military  tribunals  are  to  begin  to-morrow  and 
domiciliary  visitations  are  already  being  made.  Your  own 
apartments  have  been  searched  and  sealed  and  the  police  have 
carried  off  papers. 

"  Such  are  the  doings  of  this  evil  day,  and  yet — selfish 
woman  that  I  am — I  cannot  for  my  life  think  it  is  all  evil. 
Has  it  not  given  me  you  ?  And  if  it  has  taken  you  away  from 
me  as  well,  I  can  wait,  I  can  be  patient.  Where  are  you  now 
I  wonder  ?  And  are  you  thinking  of  me  while  I  am  thinking  of 
you  ?  Oh,  how  splendid !  Think  of  it !  Though  the  train  may 
be  carrying  you  away  from  me  every  hour  and  every  minute, 
before  long  we  shall  be  together.  In  the  first  dream  of  the 
first  sleep  I  shall  join  you,  and  we  shall  be  cheek  to  cheek  and 
heart  to  heart.     Good-night,  my  dear  one !  " 

Again  she  tried  to  say  something  about  her  secret.  But  no  I 
"  Not  to-night,"  she  thought,  and  after  switching  off  the  light 
and  kissing  her  hand  in  the  darkness  to  the  stars  that  hung 
over  the  north,  she  laughed  at  her  own  foolishness  and  went 
to  bed. 


THE  ROMAN  OP  ROME  343 


in 

The  work  of  the  Military  Tribunals  began  at  eight  o'clock 
the  following  morning.  The  sun  had  risen,  the  slush  of  the 
snow  was  gone,  and  the  courtyard  of  the  Castle  of  St.  Angelo 
was  bright  and  busy.  Officers  in  the  uniform  of  various  regi- 
ments, carrying  portfolios  and  papers,  were  coming  and  going 
with  quick  steps.  A  line  of  policemen  in  hats  and  cock 
feathers  kept  a  way  clear  from  the  gate  to  the  Castle,  and 
civilians  with  tickets  of  admission  were  permitted  to  pass.  As 
the  Castle  clock  was  striking,  the  black  van  of  Regina  Coeli 
rattled  over  the  stones  of  the  courtyard  with  the  first  batch  of 
prisoners.  There  were  ten  of  them,  nearly  all  poorly  clad,  and 
when  they  stepped  down  at  the  door  there  was  a  clank  of  chains 
in  the  morning  air. 

The  military  court  sat  in  a  large  gloomy  chamber  with 
arched  roof  and  sandstone  walls.  It  was  divided  into  two 
unequal  parts,  the  larger  part  for  judges  and  counsel,  the 
smaller  part  for  the  public.  A  long  horse-shoe  table,  covered 
with  green  cloth,  stood  under  a  portrait  of  the  King  which 
was  draped  with  flags  and  surmounted  by  a  streamer  bearing 
the  words,  "  The  law  is  equal  for  all."  In  the  centre  of  the 
horse-shoe  the  President  sat  in  a  large  red  arm-chair,  with  his 
assistant  Judges  on  either  side.  At  tables  in  the  well  of  the 
court  the  prosecutors  and  defenders  were  sitting  with  the  official 
instructors,  the  secretaries  and  their  deputies.  Everybody  was 
in  military  uniform,  whether  of  infantry,  cavalry,  artillery  or 
engineers,  and  nearly  all  wore  orders.  Beyond  a  wooden  bar- 
rier the  public  were  huddled  together  in  an  oblong  space  with- 
out seats. 

Meantime,  the  Royal  Commissioner  sat  in  his  private  office 
upstairs  with  two  of  the  Ministers  of  State.  One  of  these  was 
the  Baron  Bonelli  and  the  other  was  the  Minister  of  War.  The 
Baron  looked  fresh  and  composed,  for  the  tumults  of  the  past 
days  had  ruffled  neither  his  teriiper  nor  his  toilet.  General 
Morra  looked  troubled,  and  his  blunt  and  rugged  face  seemed 
more  than  ever  like  a  thing  carved  out  by  an  adze.  The  Royal 
Commissioner,  who  wore  the  unifonn  of  a  general,  was  a 
small  man  with  a  doubtful  expression.  His  left  eye  had  a 
fixed  pupil,  which  gave  the  effect  of  a  squint. 

"  General,"  said  the  Baron,  seating  himself  by  a  table,  "  the 
Government  has  complete  confidence  in  your  wisdom  and  di- 
plomacy, or  it  would  not  have  recommended  the  King  to  place 


344  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

you  in  this  position,  but  it  may  satisfy  my  colleague " — he 
made  a  gentle  motion  of  his  hand  towards  the  Minister  of  War, 
who  was  walking  uneasily  to  and  fro — "  and  perhaps  relieve 
you  of  a  certain  burden  of  responsibility,  if  I  ask  you  to  say  at 
the  outset  what  you  have  done,  what  you  are  doing,  and  what 
the  programme  is  which  you  propose  to  follow." 

"  With  pleasure,  Excellency,"  said  the  Royal  Commissioner, 
"  and  perhaps  the  simplest  way  is  to  read  the  Verhale  of  what 
we  have  done  down  to  date." 

"  Do,"  said  the  Baron,  and  the  Royal  Commissioner  rose, 
opened  a  portfolio  and  began  to  read. 

"  In  the  name  of  His  Majesty — by  the  grace  of  God  and  the 
will  of  the  nation.  King  .  .  ." 

"  Skip  that,"  said  the  Baron. 

The  Royal  Commissioner  turned  a  page  and  began  again. 

"  It  having  been  proved  by  the  reading  of  documents  and 
the  deposition  of  witnesses  .  .  ." 

"  And  that  ..." 

The  Royal  Commissioner  turned  another  page. 

"  Considering  that  the  riot  on  the  night  of  February  1st 
was  the  work  of  propaganda  made  in  the  ways  above  indicated, 
Rome  was  by  royal  decree  declared  to  be  in  a  state  of  siege,  a 
Royal  Commissioner  was  appointed,  the  city  was  divided  into 
four  zones,  each  under  the  command  of  a  general,  the  streets 
and  squares  were  occupied  by  military  cordons,  and  the  tri- 
bunal of  war  was  authorised  to  judge  civilians  arrested  as 
rioters  according  to  the  conditions  of  military  law." 

"  Come  to  the  regulations." 

"  The  Royal  Commissioner  has  ordered  that  for  the  present 
theatres,  wine-shops,  and  cafes  shall  be  closed  at  8  p.  m.,  meet- 
ings of  more  than  four  persons  shall  be  forbidden,  the  circula- 
tion of  revolutionary  writings  and  seditious  proclamations 
shall  be  treated  as  treason  and  .  .  ." 

The  Minister  of  War  stopped  in  his  walk,  and  the  Royal 
Commissioner  paused. 

"  Go  on,"  said  the  Baron. 

"  And  that  any  action  aimed  against  the  sovereign,  de- 
signed to  change  the  form  of  Government  or  to  cause  danger 
to  the  State,  shall  be  considered  as  high  treason  and  dealt 
with  by  summary  judgment." 

"Good!     What  about  the  journals  sequestered?" 

The  Royal  Commissioner  read  a  list  of  them.  It  ended 
with  the  Sunrise. 


THE  ROMAN  OF   ROME  345 

"  What  about  the  societies  suppressed  ?  " 

The  Royal  Commissioner  read  the  names.  The  last  of  them 
was  the  "  Republic  of  Man." 

"  What  about  domiciliary  perquisitions  ?  " 

The  Royal  Commissioner  read  the  addresses  of  houses  and 
apartments  in  which  incriminating  documents  had  been  seized 
for  the  discovery  of  the  plot  and  the  circumstances  of  com- 
plicity. 

"  And  now  for  the  rioters  arrested." 

"  There  are  nearly  five  hundred,  your  Excellency.  This  is 
a  list  of  them." 

It  ended  with  "  Bruno  Rocco,  sculptor's  assistant,  14  Piazza 
Navona,  accused  of  violent  resistance  to  the  authorities  on  the 
night  of  the  first  of  February,  and  the  wounding  of  various 
soldiers." 

"  Good !  "  said  the  Baron  again.  "  You  are  more  than  mer- 
ciful, dear  General,  to  the  lesser  delinquents  who  had  thrown 
themselves  into  the  hands  of  the  law.  But  what  of  the  greater 
criminals  who  led  on  the  ignorant  and  deluded  crowd?  Have 
you  drawn  up  a  warrant  against  David  Rossi  ? " 

"  It  is  here,  Excellency." 

"  Read  it." 

The  Minister  of  War  resumed  his  uneasy  walk,  and  the 
Royal  Commissioner  began  to  read. 

"  David  Rossi,  of  14  Piazza  Xavona,  to  whom  are  imputed 
the  crimes  mentioned  in  Articles  134  and  252  of  the  Penal 
Code,  being  out  of  the  reach  of  justice,  is  accused  of  having  by 
his  intelligence  and  energy,  and  the  great  influence  he  has 
acquired  among  the  people,  by  writings  in  public  journals,  by 
speeches  in  public  places  and  by  the  institution  of  associations, 
conspired  to  carry  on  a  subversive  propaganda,  to  circulate 
revolutionary  ideas,  to  urge  the  masses  to  resist  authority  and 
to  change  violently  the  constitution  of  the  State,  and  particu- 
larly of  contributing  to  the  riot  of  the  first  of  February,  the 
said  David  Rossi  is  hereby  ordered  to  present  himself  for  trial 
before  the  military  tribunal  sitting  in  the  Castle  of  St.  Angelo 
in  Rome  within  .  .  .  days  of  the  date  hereof,  under  pain  of 
being  tried  and  condemned  in  contumacy'  for  the  crimes  herein 
detailed." 

The  Minister  of  War  put  his  clenched  hand  on  the  table. 
"  You  cannot  issue  a  warrant  like  that,"  he  said. 

"  Why  not  ?  "  said  the  Baron. 

"  Because  Rossi  is  a  Deputy.  A  Deputy  must  be  taken  in 
33 


346  THE  ETERNAL  CITY  - 

the  act.  The  statute  says  clearly  that  only  the  flagrant  offence  ] 
can  annul  the  immunity  of  a  member  of  Parliament.  Rossi  '< 
is  gone,  and  you  cannot  follow  him." 

"  My  dear  colleague,"  said  the  Baron,  smiling,  "  you  are 
talking  nonsense.     What  is  the  crime  with  which  the  man  is         ■ 
charged?    Conspiracy!    What  is  conspiracy  ?    Is  it  like  murder, 
a  crime  committed  in  a  moment  ?    No !    It  is  an  offence  which 
goes  on  all  the  time.     Therefore  conspiracy  itself  is  flagrance,         I 
and  any  man  can  be  arrested  who  can  be  proved  to  conspire."         | 

"  Tell  me  by  what  means  you  can  prove  that  Rossi  is  con- 
spiring without  the  trial  to  which  you  have  no  right  to  sum-         , 
mon  him."  j 

"  By  the  means  we  employ  to  prove  the  crime  of  every 
criminal." 

"  The  secret  inquiry?  " 

"Why  not?" 

"  In  that  case,  Excellency,  you  must  be  good  enough  to 
proceed  without  my  assistance.  I  have  no  sympathy  with  the 
aims  of  David  Rossi.  As  a  Minister  of  State  and  your  col- 
league, I  have  been  with  you  in  your  desire  to  safeguard  the 
cause  of  order  and  the  rights  of  existing  institutions.  But  as 
a  man  and  a  Roman  I  am  against  you  when  you  violate  the 
statute  and  cut  at  the  liberties  of  the  nation.  Your  Excel- 
lency, I  have  the  honour  to  wish  you  good-morning." 

The  Minister  of  War  saluted  the  Baron  as  if  he  had  been 
a  private  in  uniform  and  walked  briskly  out  of  the  room. 

The  Baron  took  a  flower  from  his  buttonhole  and  put  it 
to  his  nose. 

"  The  man  is  a  fool,"  he  said  after  a  moment,  "  Still,  he 
is  so  far  right  that  we  can  only  issue  your  warrant,  if  at  all, 
upon  the  clearest  evidence  of  conspiracy.  What  evidence  have 
you?" 

"  Not  too  much,  your  Excellency." 

"  No  incriminating  documents  ?  " 

"  None." 

"  You  have  made  your  domiciliary  visitation  and  found        ' 
nothing?" 

"  Nothing  of  consequence  ?  " 

"  Who  are  your  witnesses  ?  " 

"  Tommaso  and  Francesca  Mariotti,  of  14  Piazza  Navona, 
porter  and  portress,  Elena  Rocco  and  Bruno  Rocco,  Charles 
Minghelli,    agent    of   police,    and   Donna   Roma   Volonna    of        i 
18  ..." 


THE  ROMAN  OF  ROME  347 

"  Drop  that  name  out." 

"Your  Excellency?" 

"  Drop  that  last  name  out  for  the  present.  What  is  Min- 
ghelli  doing  for  you  ?  " 

"  I  have  sent  him  into  Regina  Coeli  as  a  prisoner." 

"  As  a  prisoner  ?  " 

"  To  meet  other  prisoners  and  gather  evidence." 

"And  the  Director?" 

"  He  was  difficult  at  first,  but  I  sent  for  him  last  night  and 
he  is  all  right  now.  '  I  don't  want  you  to  do  a  bad  action, 
Cavaliere,'  I  said.  '  You  are  the  Director  of  a  great  prison, 
and  it  is  your  duty  to  sei-ve  your  King  and  counti-y.  We  have 
reason  to  believe  that  the  riot  of  the  first  of  February  was  in- 
stigated by  a  revolutionary  organisation  and  that  one  at  least 
of  your  prisoners  knows  all  the  facts  of  the  plot  and  the  cir- 
cumstances of  the  complicity.  His  name  is  Bruno  Kocco.  He 
has  a  good  heart  and  he  committed  the  crime  with  which  he 
is  charged  under  the  influence  of  persons  above  him.  Help  us 
to  discover  who  those  persons  are,  and  you  will  be  doing  a  ser- 
vice to  the  Government.' " 

"  And  what  is  the  result  ?  " 

"  Minghelli  has  been  put  into  a  cell  next  to  Bruno's ;  the 
two  men  are  friends  already  and  have  opened  up  communica- 
tion with  each  other,  by  means  of  raps  on  the  wall  in  the  usual 
language  of  prisoners." 

The  fixed  pupil  of  the  left  eye  of  the  Royal  Commissioner 
squinted  badly  at  that  moment  and  his  face  broke  into  a  smile. 

"  General,"  said  the  Baron,  rising  to  go,  "  I  am  satisfied  you 
are  on  the  right  track,  and  it  will  give  me  pleasure  to  inform 
the  King  that  your  management  of  this  difficult  enterprise 
promises  to  justify  the  confidence  I  felt  when  I  proposed  you 
for  your  distinguished  position." 

During  the  short  half-hour  occupied  by  this  interview  the 
Military  Tribunal  had  proceeded  with  despatch.  Ten  prisoners 
had  been  condemned  to  sentences  of  imprisonment  ranging 
from  ten  days  to  ten  years,  and  the  black  van  of  Regina  Coeli 
was  rattling  over  the  stones  again. 


348  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

IV 

Roma  awoke  that  morning  with  a  sense  of  pain.  Almost 
before  she  was  back  into  her  bodily  presence  from  the  joyful 
shadowland  of  dream  the  Baron's  incisive  accents  were  hack- 
ing at  her  ear :  "  I  have  conquered  worse  obstacles  in  my  time, 
and  perhaps  in  this  instance  Nature  herself  will  fight  for  me 
to  call  you  back  to  your  true  place  and  your  duty." 

She  began  to  realise  the  price  she  had  paid  for  victory. 
Thus  far  she  had  beaten  the  Baron — yes !  But  David  Rossi  ? 
Had  she  sinned  against  God  and  against  her  husband? 

She  must  confess.  There  was  no  help  for  it.  And  there 
must  be  no  hesitation  and  no  delay. 

Natalina  came  into  the  bedroom  and  threw  open  the  shut- 
ters. She  was  bringing  a  telegram,  and  Roma  almost  snatched 
it  out  of  her  hands.  ^  It  was  from  Rossi  and  had  been  sent  off 
from  Chiasso.    "  Crossed  frontier  safe  and  well." 

Roma  made  a  cry  of  joy  and  leapt  out  of  bed.  All  day  long 
that  telegram  was  like  wings  under  her  heels  and  made  her  walk 
with  an  elastic  step. 

While  taking  her  coffee  she  remembered  the  responsibilities 
she  had  undertaken  the  day  before — for  the  boy's  funeral  and 
Bruno's  maintenance — and  for  the  first  time  in  her  life  she 
began  to  consider  ways  and  means.  Her  ready  money  was 
getting  low,  and  it  was  necessary  to  do  something. 

Then  Felice  came  with  a  sheaf  of  papers.  They  were  trades- 
men's bills  and  required  immediate  payment.  Some  of  the  men 
were  below  and  refused  to  go  away  without  the  cash. 

There  was  no  help  for  it.  She  opened  her  purse,  discharged 
her  debts,  swept  her  debtors  out  of  the  house,  and  sat  down  to 
count  what  remained. 

Very  little  remained.  But  what  matter?  The  five  words  of 
that  telegram  were  five  bright  stars  which  could  light  up  a 
darker  sky  than  had  fallen  on  her  yet. 

The  only  thing  that  hurt  her  was  the  implication,  which 
the  importunities  of  the  tradesmen  conveyed,  that  she  was 
nobody  now  that  the  friendship  and  favour  of  the  Baron  were 
gone.  She  remembered  her  art,  and  her  pride  rose  in  revolt. 
The  world  should  see  that  she  was  somebody  after  all,  somebody 
for  herself,  and  not  merely  a  creature  living  in  the  light  of 
a  great  man's  smiles. 

In  this  high  mood  she  went  down  to  the  studio — silent 
now  in  the  absence  of  the  humorous  voice  that  usually  rang  in 


THE   ROMAN  OP   ROME  349 

it,  and  with  Bruno's  chisels  and  mallet  lying  idle  with  his  sack 
on  a  block  of  half-hewn  marble.  Uncovering  her  fountain  she 
looked  at  it  again.  It  was  good  work;  she  knew  it  was  good, 
she  could  be  certain  it  was  good.  It  should  justify  her  yet, 
and  some  day  the  stupid  people  who  were  sheering  away  from 
her  now  would  come  cringing  to  her  feet  afresh. 

That  suggested  thoughts  of  the  Mayor.  She  would  write, 
to  him  and  get  some  money  with  which  to  meet  the  expenses  of 
yesterday  as  well  as  the  obligations  which  she  might  perhaps 
incur  to-day  or  in  the  future. 

"  Dear  Senator  Palomba,"  she  wrote,  "  no  doubt  you  have 
often  wondered  why  your  much-valued  commission  has  not 
been  completed  before.  The  fact  is  that  it  suffered  a  slight  ac- 
cident a  few  days  ago,  but  a  week  or  a  fortnight  ought  to  see  it 
finished,  and  if  you  wish  to  make  arrangements  for  its  recep- 
tion you  may  count  on  its  delivery  in  that  time.  Meantime 
as  I  am  pressed  for  funds  at  the  momelit  I  shall  be  glad  if 
you  can  instruct  your  treasurer  at  the  Municipality  to  let 
me  have  something  on  account.  The  price  mentioned,  you 
remember,  was  15,000  francs,  and  as  I  have  not  had  anything 
hitherto  I  trust  it  may  not  be  unreasonable  to  ask  for  half 
now,  leaving  the  remainder  until  the  fountain  is  in  its 
place." 

Having  despatched  this  challenge  by  Felice,  not  only  to  the 
Mayor,  but  also  to  herself,  her  pride,  her  poverty,  and  to  the 
great  world  generally,  she  put  on  her  cloak  and  hat  and  drove 
down  to  the  Castle  of  St.  Angelo. 

When  she  returned  an  hour  afterwards  there  was  a  di*y 
glitter  in  her  eyes,  which  increased  to  a  look  of  fever  when  she 
opened  the  drawing-room  door  and  saw  who  was  waiting  there. 
It  was  the  Mayor  himself.  The  little  oily  man  in  patent- 
leather  boots,  holding  upright  his  glossy  silk  hat,  was  clearly 
nervous  and  confused.  He  complimented  her  on  her  appear- 
ance, looked  out  of  the  window,  extolled  the  view,  and  finally, 
with  his  back  to  his  hostess,  began  on  his  business. 

"  It  is  about  your  letter,  you  know,"  he  said,  awkwardly. 
"  There  seems  to  be  a  little  misunderstanding  on  your  part. 
About  the  fountain,  I  mean." 

"  !N^one  whatever,  Senator.  You  ordered  it.  I  have  exe- 
cuted it.     Surely  the  matter  is  quite  simple." 

"  Impossible,  my  dear.  I  may  have  encouraged  you  to  an 
experimental  trial.  We  all  do  that.  Rome  is  eager  to  discover 
genius.     But  a  simple  member  of  a  corporate  body  cannot 


350  THE  ETERNAL  CITY 

undertake  .  .  .  that  is  to  say,  on  his  own  responsibility,  you 
know  .  .  ." 

Roma's  breath  began  to  come  quickly.  "  Do  you  mean  that 
you  didn't  commission  my  fountain  ?  " 

"  How  could  I,  my  child  ?  Such  matters  must  go  through  a 
regular  form.  The  proper  committee  must  sanction  and  re- 
solve .  .  ." 

"  But  everybody  has  known  of  this,  and  it  has  been  gen- 
erally understood  from  the  first." 

"  Ah,  understood  !    Possibly  !    Rumour  and  report  perhaps." 

"  But  I  could  bring  witnesses — high  witnesses — the  very 
highest  if  needs  be  .  .  ." 

The  little  man  smiled  benevolently. 

"  Surely  there  is  no  witness  of  any  standing  in  the  State 
who  would  go  into  a  witness  box  and  say  that  without  a  con- 
tract, and  with  only  a  few  encouraging  words  .  .  ." 

The  dry  glitter  in  Roma's  eyes  shot  into  a  look  of  anger. 
"  Do  you  call  your  letters  to  me  a  few  encouraging  words 
only  ?  "  she  said. 

"  My  letters  ?  "     The  glossy  hat  was  getting  ruffled. 

"  Your  letters  alluding  to  this  matter,  and  enumerating  the 
favours  you  wished  me  to  ask  of  the  Pi'ime  Minister." 

"  My  dear,"  said  the  Mayor  after  a  moment,  "  I'm  sorry  if 
I  have  led  you  to  build  up  hopes,  and  though  I  have  no  au- 
thority ...  if  it  will  end  matters  amicably  ...  I  think  I 
can  promise  ...  I  might